QUEBEC, CANADA — The promotion of Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet to head the powerful Vatican Congregation for Bishops (Triumph of theologians over diplomats in Vatican) has not been well received by advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse.
In his new job, Ouellet will be appointing bishops worldwide, and this is a particularly sensitive time, as the clergy sex abuse scandal calls into question the actions of bishops around the world and within the Vatican itself.
The founder of a Canadian group for victims of sexually abusive priests called Ouellet's promotion "undeserved." France Bédard, founder of l'Association des Victimes de Prêtres, told CBC/Radio-Canada that Ouellet has repeatedly refused to apologize for crimes committed within the church.
"There are lives that are completely destroyed and that's why I've been asking for years that Cardinal Ouellet repair the damage that pedophile priests have done," Bédard said. "He has been very silent about the victims."
Meanwhile, a U.S.-based organization, the National Survivor Advocates Coalition, is calling on Ouellet "to quickly remove Cardinal Bernard Law as a member of the bishops congregation."
Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002 amid the growing abuse scandal, but he continues to serve on several Vatican bodies, including the one on bishops.
"The beginning of Cardinal Ouellet's tenure … provides a clear opportunity to begin to take serious action to end the crisis," the Survivor Advocates Coalition said in a statement June 30.
"He can choose to set this congregation on a new path and send the message that business as usual has ended and bishops will not continue to be made in the image and likeness of Cardinal Bernard Law nor any other hierarch who participated in or covered up criminal acts against children."