Joseph-Aurèle Plourde

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His Excellency
Joseph-Aurèle Plourde
Archbishop of Ottawa
Church Catholic Church
Archdiocese Ottawa
Province Ottawa
Metropolis Ottawa
Installed 1967
Term ended 1989
Predecessor Marie-Joseph Lemieux
Successor Marcel André J. Gervais
Ordination May 7, 1944
Personal details
Born (1915-01-12)January 12, 1915
Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick
Died January 5, 2013(2013-01-05) (aged 97)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Residence Ottawa, Ontario Canada
Parents Antoine Plourde and Suzanne Albert [1]
Occupation clergy
Alma mater St. Joseph College Memramcook
Holy Heart Seminary, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, OC (January 12, 1915 – January 5, 2013) was a Canadian Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa, Ontario.

Early years[edit]

Archbishop Plourde was born in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick to Antoine Plourde and Suzanne Albert, the eighth of 11 children.[2] and attended the St. Joseph College in Memramcook, New Brunswick and Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax, Nova Scotia before becoming ordained as a priest in 1944.[3] Besides his priesthood, Plourde was also professor of social studies and philosophy at Saint-Louis College in Edmundston, New Brunswick.

Unexamined role in Ottawa child-sexual abuse scandal[edit]

Plourde was never held to account in court for his role and/or knowledge in connection to the widespread sexual abuse of children by several priests within the Ottawa diocese throughout the 1970s and early 1980s: all occurring under his tenure as Archbishop. He did not apologize—either personally or on behalf of the diocese—to the victims of these highly documented criminal abuses. In 1986, he was quoted on the record blaming the media, parishioners and the victims' families for having come forward with allegations that ultimately led to the criminal conviction of Dale Crampton, among other priests within his diocese.

Allegations also surfaced in 1986 that Plourde had threatened one of the earliest whistleblowers with excommunication for scandalmongering, should they go public with their claims about Crampton.

New allegations surfaced in May 2016, when retired Catholic priest Barry McGrory publicly admitted that he sexually abused three young parishioners at Ottawa’s Holy Cross Parish in the 1970s and ’80s. These allegations were reported by The Ottawa Citizen including McGrory's claims that Plourde was aware of the abuse occurring within his diocese. These allegations have yet to be tested in court.

Also in 2016--more than 35 years after these criminal acts took place--the Ottawa archdiocese and its current archbishop publicly acknowledged "the enormity of evil" in connection to these cases, but remained mute on Plourde's knowledge of the abuses that occurred under his watch.

To this date, the Ottawa archdiocese refuses to comment on or confirm the total number of sexual abuse cases before the courts in which it is named as defendant.


In 1964 he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Alexandria in Ontario and in 1967, he was made Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa. In 1966 and 1967, Archbishop Plourde, among many other activities during his ministry, was instrumental in chairing a committee that set up the Canadian bishops' international development agency (the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace). He attended the Second Vatican Council and helped to restructure the Canadian bishops' conference- the Canadian Catholic Conference, which was renamed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1977 (he served as President of the Conference from 1969-1971). Archbishop Plourde was also a Vice President and a founding member of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, now the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Archbishop Plourde retired as Archbishop of Ottawa in 1989, serving as an Archbishop Emeritus until his death in 2013. He was succeeded in 1989 as Archbishop of Ottawa by Archbishop Marcel André J. Gervais, who served until 2007.

In 1989, Archbishop Plourde was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Archbishop Plourde died on January 5, 2013, in Ottawa, at the age of 97. Ottawa's Archbishop Terrence Prendergast was scheduled to celebrate his predecessor's Funeral Mass on Friday, January 11, 2013, at Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica. Immediately afterward, Archbishop Plourde's remains were to be entombed in the Archbishop's Chapel at the Cathedral Basilica.[4]



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