Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Archbishop Roussin

Rocco Palma says that Archbishop Roussin, now 67, may retire early. You can find the mention towards the end of a story on Archbishop Richard Smith's move to Edmonton. I sat down with Archbishop Roussin at lunch at a retreat a number of years ago- he struck me as a singularly humble man who cares deeply for the Church and his flock. A few years ago, he took a leave from his duties to deal with clinical depression, and was courageously upfront about it.

Archbishop Roussin has done yeoman's work in the vineyard for many years. His first episcopal seat was Gravelbourg in Saskatchewan, where he had to prepare the diocese to be combined into the Archdiocese of Regina. He then went to the Diocese of Victoria, where he succeeded Bishop Remi de Roo, who left the diocese in dire straits. When Bishop Roussin took charge of the diocese, they had no vocations, had not had any ordinations for four years as I recall, and were seriously divided between relatively orthodox portions of the faithful and large contingents of heterodox "progressives". Moreover, Bishop de Roo had engaged in a large financial speculation involving development land in Washington State- the property became tied up in litigation, the diocese lost millions, and had to support a massive debt for about a decade.

Bishop Roussin steered Victoria away from the shoals- and passed on a much healthier diocese to the incumbent, Bishop Gagnon. In Vancouver, he has been a staunch defender of Marriage and human life, and took a leading role in forcing Telus to back off from selling pornography to its cellphone customers.

Of course, I hope this is not a summation of Bishop Roussin's service to the Church. Even should he decide to retire as ordinary, I trust that he will continue to serve the faithful in another capacity.

UPDATE: Rocco Palma hints that Roussin might retire and a successor be appointed before the end of June:
To date, while three (and possibly a fourth) group of Canadian pilgrims will be heading over to cheer on their new archbishops