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Letter from Rome: Cardinal Ouellet throws his hat into the ring

The French-Canadian who is completing a decade as head of the Vatican's office for bishops has launched his candidacy to become pope

Letter from Rome: Cardinal Ouellet throws his hat into the ring

Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Why would a 76-year-old cardinal whom the pope will be "retiring" in the coming months (if not weeks) suddenly announce he's organizing a big international conference on vocations that won't take place until next year in Rome?

That's exactly what Cardinal Marc Ouellet did last week when he launched plans for a symposium titled "Towards a Fundamental Theology of the Priesthood".

The event — at which he is the host, main speaker and chief organizer — is scheduled for Feb. 17-19, 2022.

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That's still 10 months away. And by then the polyglot French-Canadian cardinal will already be 77 and — without a doubt — no longer prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

But another question arises: why is the Congregation for Bishops sponsoring an international theological gathering on vocations?

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