Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Kingmaker Speaks

Making an auspicious entrance into the Curia's "Big Three," Cardinal Marc Ouellet said yesterday that he received his appointment as prefect of the Congregation for Bishops "with gratitude but also with a sense of fear in front of this huge responsibility."

From there, the departing primate of Canada took a host of questions on matters ranging from whether he'd ever expect to become Pope (no), if he was "prepared to play" in the rough-and-tumble world of the Curia (he demurred), to the fallout of his recent comments which deemed abortion a "moral crime."

"I hope after some time we can ponder and reflect better on what I’ve been doing and the reason why I did what I did," he replied to the latter, "and historians will have to do their work in future."

For all of it, on-demand video of yesterday's bilingual presser is up, and the National Catholic Register's Edward Pentin has produced a transcript of Ouellet's replies in English.

Lastly, though, while much of the global press sought to play up a storyline casting the new prefect as a "hard-line" choice, it can't go without noting that the return of the longtime B16 confidant to the Roman scene should be good news for the post's presence in the public square.

While Ouellet's predecessor at the helm of the "bishops' shop" was a Curial lifer who's run the dicastery with the according discreet hand, one assessment of the cardinal's legacy in Quebec concluded that, "at minimum," he "has succeeded in restoring the Catholic church’s place" in the province's public discourse.

"He doesn’t seem to mind if you speak ill of him or well of him," the line went, "just as long as you speak of him."

And along those lines, don't be surprised to hear more from him over the years to come.

That said, it's very possible that the last acts of the Reign of Re still remain to emerge on these shores....

As ever, more as it shakes out.

PHOTO: Reuters File