August 19, 2022 (Steven O’Reilly) – In recent days, news broke about a class action lawsuit filed against the archdiocese of Quebec. Per LifeSiteNews, the lawsuit apparently makes allegations of sexual assault against a number of priests, and other clergy of the archdiocese. Apparently, among those accused is Cardinal Marc Ouellett. Per the LifeSiteNews article:
According to CTV News, the allegations against Ouellet are detailed in the class-action suit which was filed on Tuesday in Quebec’s Superior Court, and specifically accuse the prominent cardinal of kissing a woman at a cocktail reception in 2008 while “sliding his hand down her back and touching her buttocks.”
(Source: LifeSiteNews, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet accused of sexual assault in class-action lawsuit, August 16, 2022)
The Cardinal has since come back with an absolute denial of the accusations:
“I firmly deny having made inappropriate gestures on her person, and I consider the interpretation and dissemination of these accusations as sexual assaults to be defamatory.”
(Source: Reuters, Canadian Cardinal Ouellet denies accusations of sexual assault, August 19, 2022)
A fair investigation needs to be conducted to get to the bottom of all this one way or the other, so that justice is served. I am not expressing any opinion on the truth or falsity of the accusation. However, whatever the truth of the matter, I do find the timing of this accusation rather curious. Here, I am not referring to the timing of the alleged incident, i.e., dating all the way back in 2008.
Rather, by timing, I refer to the fact the rumor mill in Rome seems to suggest that Pope Francis’s health is so bad that he may not survive another year, or that he may soon resign (see A Francis Resignation? Not likely, but…); thereby potentially necessitating a conclave in the relative near future. This is why I find the timing of the appearance of this accusation against Cardinal Ouellett curious; that is, because he is considered a papabile [NB: Cardinal Ouellett is not my preferred papabile. For one, it seemed to me he bent the knee on Amoris Laetitia].
Cardinal Ouelett received some votes in the 2013 conclave — and, allegedly, even the support of Cardinal Bergoglio at the time. Furthermore, Cardinal Ouellett seems to be among the top papabile for the next conclave. For example, some odds-makers place him (8 to 1 odds) fourth among the top contenders (see Here), behind fellow Cardinals Tagle, Turkson, and Scola. Other bookies place Ouelett as third in their odds-maker list behind Tagle and Turkson (see here).
Obviously, negative stories, true or not, will certainly hurt any papal candidate’s chances in an upcoming conclave. Here, I think back to the negative stories which appear to have harmed Cardinal Scola’s chances on the very day the 2013 conclave was to begin. That morning, the press reported on pre-dawn raids in Milan on that same day by anti-mafia police targeting a friend of Cardinal Scola’s.
At the time, going into the 2013 conclave, Cardinal Scola had been considered the leading contender to win the papacy. Roma Locuta Est reported on these Milan raids and the 2013 conclave in two articles: The Forgotten ‘October Surprise’ of the 2013 Conclave and The Forgotten ‘October Surprise’ (Part II): Cui Bono? So, especially in light of the Mar-a-Lago raid by Biden’s FBI/DOJ — which was clearly an attempt to stop Trump politically; one cannot help but wonder if something more was afoot in the case of the Milan raid, i.e., was it intended to stop Cardinal Scola, and help clear the papabile field for someone else.
It will be interesting to see if along with continued rumors of Francis’s impending demise or resignation, whether negative press stories regarding various papabili begin appearing with greater regularity.
Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former intelligence officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms. (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions. He can be contacted at StevenOReilly@AOL.com or StevenOReilly@ProtonMail.com (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on GETTR, Parler, or Gab: @StevenOReilly).