Édouard Gagnon

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Coat of arms of Édouard Gagnon

Édouard Gagnon, OC (January 15, 1918 – August 25, 2007) was a Canadian Roman Catholic cardinal and President of the Pontifical Council for the Family for 16 years, from 1974 to 1990. He became a cardinal on May 25, 1985.

Biography[edit]

Édouard Gagnon was born in Port-Daniel, Quebec, one of 13 children. He attended a private school and studied art at the University of Montreal. He studied at the major seminary of Montreal, where he received a doctorate degree in theology in 1941. He was ordained in the Society of St Sulpice on 15 August 1940. He then studied at the University of Laval in Quebec from 1941 to 1944, receiving a doctorate in canon law.

He taught moral theology and canon law from 1945 to 1954. He was rector of the major seminary of Saint Boniface from 1954 to 1960, and then director of the major seminary in Manizales, Colombia. He acted as a peritus (theologian advisor and consultant) during the Vatican Council II Second Vatican Council and was Provincial of the Society of Saint-Sulpice for Canada, Japan and Latin America from 1966 to 1970. He also became secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 1966, and rector of the Pontifical Canadian College in 1969.[1]

Gagnon was named Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta on 19 February 1969, and was consecrated on 25 March 1969. He became Archbishop of the titular see of Justiniana on 7 July 1983. He was then made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II during the Consistory of 25 May 1985, becoming the Cardinal-Priest of the Titulus S. Marcelli.

He held several important posts in the Roman Curia. He was vice-chancellor of the Pontifical College from 1972 to 1985. He fully supported the prohibition on contraception in Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, and was vice-president and then president of the Pontifical Council for the Family from 1974 until he resigned in 1990. He was nominated President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses on 3 January 1991.

He attended the Synod of Bishops in 1985 and in 1987, and was given the task of seeking a rapprochement with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre's traditionalist Society of St Pius X.

In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He opposed the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005.

He died on August 25, 2007 in Montreal at the Saint-Sulpice Seminary. On hearing of his death, Pope Benedict XVI said that Cardinal Gagnon was a "faithful pastor who, with an evangelical spirit, consecrated his life in service to Christ and his Church."

References[edit]