LA MOTTE, Que. - A selection of quotes from Cardinal Marc Ouellet who, entering Tuesday's papal conclave in Rome, is believed to be among the candidates to replace Pope Benedict as head of the Roman Catholic Church:
ON BECOMING POPE:
"It would be a nightmare. I see the work the pope has to do. It's maybe not so enviable. It's a crushing responsibility... There's the help of the holy spirit, for sure, but it's a very big responsibility. Nobody campaigns for that." — In Quebec Le Soleil, when asked by the newspaper in 2011 whether he could become pope.
"I understand very well that a woman who has been raped is in distress and must be helped. But she needs that (help), while keeping in mind the being inside her. She's not reponsible for what's happened to her — the rapist is. But there's already been one victim. Do we need to make a second one?... Taking someone else's life is always a moral crime." — In 2010 speech to pro-life rally.
ON THE ABRUPT DECLINE OF RELIGION IN HIS HOME PROVINCE:
"A people needs its symbols — reference points for its identity. Quebec evacuated those very quickly ... to replace them with what, from a religious standpoint? With nothing. There's an emptiness. That's dangerous. Nature abhors a vacuum... The social fabric is suffering because there's a lack of cohesion, and that's a role once played by religion which was never replaced. I'm watching Quebec society evolve and I ask myself: Are we not watching some sort of implosion? It's not a violent explosion, but an implosion: something is broken inside, and there is an emptiness in our society, a deep malaise." — Interview with journalist Pierre Maisonneuve published in 2006 book, "The Journalist and the Cardinal."
ON ABSENCE OF FEMALE PRIESTS:
"I understand very well the cultural pressure that induces, almost psychologically, this feeling of exclusion (among women). That's why it's important to maintain a dialogue and reflect together on the vocation of women, the vocation of men... (on church's exclusion of female priests)." — Maisonneuve book, 2006.
ON WHY PRIESTS CAN'T MARRY:
"The life (of a priest) is a testament to Jesus Christ. In that vein, there's a convention that those chosen to represent Christ .... should espouse the lifestyle of Christ, who was poor, chaste — a bachelor — and practising." — Maisonneuve book, 2006.
"I believe our current culture, which is hyper-eroticized, struggles to believe you can live without sexual relations. I can conceive of it, easily... By the way, I believe the vast majority of priests are faithful to their vows — with all the struggles and difficulties that follow, for sure." — Maisonneuve book, 2006.
"People in the church are of this world.... Gay culture is very influential in the West, and that has an impact on the church, too. But I will never say that it's because of imposed celibacy that homosexuality has become more present in the church." — Maisonneuve book, 2006.
ON SEX-ABUSE SCANDALS:
"As members of the church, we must have the courage to ask humbly for God's pardon, as well as for the forgiveness of His 'little ones' who have been wounded; we must remain close to them on their road of suffering, seeking in every possible way to heal and bind up their wounds following the example of the Good Samaritan. The first step on this road is to listen to them carefully and to believe their painful stories." — 2007 homily.
"It is a source of great shame and enormous scandal... It is intolerable that the abuse of children would take place within the church. Never again." — 2007 homily.
ON ERRORS OF THE CHURCH:
"I recognize that the closed-minded attitude of some Catholics, before 1960, fostered anti-Semitism, racism, indifference to First Nations and discrimination against women and homosexuals. The behaviour of Catholics and some religious authorities with respect to women's voting rights, and access to work and opportunities, did not always meet society's needs nor conform to the social doctrine of the church... Young people were sexually assaulted by priests and church people, causing them grave harm and trauma that shattered their lives! These scandals shook people's confidence in religious authority, and we understand! We apologize for all this evil!" — Public letter in 2007.