A powerful Canadian cardinal, Marc Ouellet, who was twice accused of sexual assault, will retire on April 12, the Vatican’s news service announced Monday, Jan. 30.
Age was given as the reason for his retirement and the Vatican did not mention the allegations against Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet.
The news service said that Pope Francis had accepted Ouellet’s resignation "upon reaching the age limit" for cardinals, which is 75. Ouellet, 78, reached the limit a few years ago — but so have several other heads of major Vatican departments, according to the independent National Catholic Reporter.
Ouellet who has strongly denied the claims against him, is retiring as head of the Vatican’s Dicastery, or department for bishops, it said.
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.