Remi De Roo

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Remi De Roo (born February 24, 1924) is a retired Canadian Roman Catholic bishop. Ordained a priest on June 8, 1950, and consecrated a bishop on December 14, 1962, he was the Bishop of Victoria until he retired on March 18, 1999. He was born in Swan Lake.[1] This makes him Canada’s longest-serving Catholic bishop.[2]

De Roo has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin philosophy from the Collège de Saint-Boniface (University of Manitoba). In 1952 he earned a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome with a dissertation entitled Regina in Coelum assumpta : les rapports entre l'assomption et la souveraineté de Marie (Queen assumed into Heaven : The relationship between the Assumption and the sovereignty of Mary). He also has several honorary degrees and is an Enneagram of Personality teacher.[3]

De Roo attended all four sessions of Vatican II. This experience deeply affected him and he still refers to himself as "a pilgrim of the Second Vatican Council".[4] He describes attending the sessions as "a voyage of discovery that would radically alter my whole outlook on reality" and "it was indeed a time of euphoria".[5] Since his retirement, De Roo has continued to travel and lecture about Vatican II and gave the keynote address, Rebuild my church – a Vatican Council Father Shares an Inspired Vision, at a Call to Action conference in 2008.[6]

During his tenure as diocesan bishop, De Roo was known as a strong proponent of social action and liberation theology and was a critic of capitalism. He was the main force behind the 1983 Canadian bishops' statement Ethical Reflections on the Economic Crisis. That document stated that the "goal of serving the human needs of all people in our society must take precedence over the maximization of profits and growth."[7]

De Roo, however, was at the centre of a financial scandal that left his diocese nearly bankrupt. Over a 15-year period, he made a series of large investments in real estate and in a horse-breeding ranch, all without submitting any records of these to an external audit. When the ventures failed, the diocese was left with a debt of over $12 million.[7] Other references say the figure was $17 million.[8] De Roo was not accused of fraud, but did not obtain Vatican approval for any of these transactions.[citation needed] Vatican approval is required for transactions over $3.5 million.[9] In May 2000, De Roo issued an apology to all Catholics in his former diocese which was printed in parish bulletins. In the apology he wrote that "I am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness."[8] The diocese sold off assets and issued bonds to clear the debt.[8]