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Primate of Canada Calls for Repentence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 17:09
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, made front page news across Canada on Nov. 21 with the publication of an open letter asking forgiveness for the sins of past church leaders. Cardinal Ouellet is calling for public repentence during Lent, 2008 in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Quebec in June.

Below is an English translation of part of his letter:

"Inspired by the gesture of John Paul II in March of 2000, of which I have born witness, I am inviting Catholics to perform an act of repentance and reconciliation. Quebec society drags a wounded history whose bad memories block access to the sources of its soul and religious identity. The time has come to take stock and make a new start. Errors were committed which have tarnished the image of the church and for which we must humbly ask for forgiveness. I am inviting pastors and the faithful to help me seek the manner with which to recognize our mistakes and deficiencies, so as to help our society reconcile with its Christian past.

Inspired by the gesture of John Paul II in March of 2000, of which I have born witness, I am inviting Catholics to perform an act of repentance and reconciliation. Quebec society drags a wounded history whose bad memories block access to the sources of its soul and religious identity. The time has come to take stock and make a new start. Errors were committed which have tarnished the image of the church and for which we must humbly ask for forgiveness. I am inviting pastors and the faithful to help me seek the manner with which to recognize our mistakes and deficiencies, so as to help our society reconcile with its Christian past.

As Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, I recognize that the narrow attitudes of certain Catholics, prior to 1960, favoured anti-Semitism, racism, indifference toward First Nations and discrimination against women and homosexuals. The behaviour of Catholics and certain episcopal authorities with regards to the right to vote, access to work and promotion of women, hasn’t always been up to par with society’s needs or conformed to the social doctrine of the church.

I also recognize that abuses of power and cover-ups have, for many, tarnished the image of the clergy and its moral authority: mothers have been rebuffed by priests without concern for their family obligations; youngsters were subject to sexual aggression by priests and religious figures, causing great injury and traumatism which have broken their lives! These scandals have shaken popular confidence toward religious authorities and we understand this! orry for all this sin!

The period of Lent in 2008, in preparation for the international eucharistic congress in Quebec City, will give us the opportunity to make a public display of repentance, basing ourselves on God’s gift to the world of life through the Eucharist. Other initiatives will follow to facilitate dialogue and heal memory.
May this search for peace and reconciliation, made in all sincerity, help Quebec more serenely remember its christian and missionary identity, which has given it an enviable place on the international scene.


For more on this story, read "What Happened to Christian Canada?"
 

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