The Pope will not investigate Cardinal Marc Ouellet

The Pope will not investigate Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Influential Quebec cardinal Marc Ouellet, who has been littered with allegations of sexual assault, will not be the subject of a new Vatican investigation, outraging representatives of victims of religious orders.

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This was announced by Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni in a brief statement on Thursday.

“Pope Francis says there are not enough elements to initiate a canonical inquiry [religieuse, NDLR] for sexual assault by Cardinal Ouellet against Person F,” he said.

“F.” is this former intern from the Diocese of Quebec, whose identity is protected, who accuses Marc Ouellet of kissing her, stroking her back “up to her butt” and making inappropriate comments about her point at which she felt “hunted” during the events of 2008-2010.

Wrong message

“I’m outraged, I’m discouraged,” responded Suzanne Tremblay, president of the Association of Young Victims of the Church, which is not a party to this file.

“What message does it send to the victims? It still tells victims, ‘No matter what happened, stop making a big deal of it. Go on with your life, we apologize,” she denounces, believing that actions do not follow words.

“It shows the true face of the Roman Catholic Church,” says Roger Lessard, who has accompanied several victims in other cases in recent years.

“F.” is a plaintiff with hundreds of others in a class action lawsuit against the Diocese of Quebec. At the time of the alleged facts, she was in her twenties while Msgr. Ouellet was Archbishop of Quebec.

The cardinal of Québec, who today exercises one of the most important functions in the Vatican as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, is not the subject of any criminal charges.

“No reason”

According to Matteo Bruni, based on the elements collected by Father Jacques Servais, Pope Francis has decided to close a new investigation against Cardinal Ouellet. The Holy Father had asked him to shed light on the events after receiving a letter from the complainant last year.

“However, there is no reason to open an investigation,” Father Servais reiterated in the Holy See’s press release on Thursday.

“Nor in the written report [de F., NDLR] and sent to the Holy Father, nor in the testimony via Zoom that I subsequently collected in the presence of a member of the diocesan ad hoc committee, that person did not make any charges that would provide material for such an investigation,” claims he.

Pope Francis’ decision comes three weeks after his visit to Canada, where he specifically asked forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church.

Attorney Alain Arsenault, who is leading the class action lawsuit against the Diocese of Quebec, warned that the Vatican’s position will have no impact on the proceedings initiated in the Quebec judiciary. “We carry on as if nothing had happened. »

The Diocese of Quebec declined to comment on the pope’s statement. However, communications agent René Tessier assured that his organization is negotiating “in good faith” and has “a real will to reach an agreement” on the collective action of which it is the subject.

– In collaboration with AFP and Diane Tremblay

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