Wed. Mar 22nd, 2023

The Vatican’s communications office stated on Monday, Jan. 30, that prominent Canadian cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was twice accused of sexual abuse, will step down on April 12.

His retirement was cited as being due to old age, and the Vatican made no mention of the accusations made against Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

According to the news agency, Pope Francis accepted Ouellet’s resignation “upon attaining the age restriction” of 75 for cardinals. According to the unbiased National Catholic Reporter, Ouellet, 78, reached his limit a few years ago, but many other directors of significant Vatican offices have as well.

The head of the Vatican’s Dicastery, or department for bishops, Ouellet, who has vehemently denied the allegations against him, is stepping down.

The Canadian, once considered a strong candidate to be pope, has been accused of abusing a female intern from 2008 to 2010, when he was archbishop of Quebec.

He was named in court documents in August relating to a class action suit targeting more than 80 members of the clergy in the archdiocese of Quebec.

In December, Ouellet said he had filed a defamation suit against the woman who accused him, “to restore my reputation”.

He is also facing a second complaint made by a woman in 2020, first revealed by French weekly Golias earlier this month and confirmed by the Quebec diocese on Monday.

The complaint was forwarded to the Vatican, a spokesperson for the diocese told AFP.

As prefect, Ouellet headed up the Vatican office that suggests bishop appointments to the pope. He will be replaced by US bishop Robert Francis Prevost.

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