Quebec cardinal accused of sex abuse attends C9 meeting in Rome

La Croix International [France]

February 6, 2024

By Loup Besmond de Senneville

Cardinal Gerald Lacroix, who temporarily stepped down as archbishop of Quebec following abuse accusations, is in Rome for two-day meeting of the pope’s Council of Cardinals

Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, who temporarily stepped aside from his duties as archbishop of Quebec last month after being accused of sexual assault, is in Rome this week for a two-day meeting with Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinals (C9).

The 66-year-old French Canadian cardinal, who has categorically denied the abuse accusations, is clearly visible in the photos Vatican meeting published on the first day of February 5-6 meeting. He seen sitting alongside other C9 members, including Cardinals Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa, Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, Juan Jose Omella of Barcelona, Sean O’Malley of Boston and others.

The name of the Primate of the Canadian Church, as revealed by several Canadian media outlets, appeared last month in a major class action lawsuit that was filed against officials of the Quebec archdiocese. It targets all sexual crimes committed in this region since 1940.

The Vatican refuses to comment

Cardinal Lacroix told his aides and co-workers in the archdiocese on January 26 that he was “temporarily withdrawing from his activities until the situation is clarified”. But he did not mention his responsibilities at the Vatican. In addition to being one of the pope’s top nine cardinal-advisors, Lacroix is also a member of the Council for the Economy, the Roman Curia’s equivalent of a finance ministry.

The Vatican has refused to officially comment on Cardinal Lacroix’s current situation. Vatican sources have merely said it is up to the Quebec archdiocese to communicate on his decision.

The Holy See Press Office issued a brief statement on February 5 that said only that the Council of Cardinals was currently meeting in the presence of Pope Francis. It did not say who was in attendance. Vatican Media, however, published photos that clearly show Cardinal Lacroix at the gathering — a detail that is not a coincidence. The two-day meeting is focused, in part, on the “role of women in the Church”, Vatican Media said.

“Being a member of the C9 is not related to the situation of the (Quebec) archdiocese,” said a Vatican source.