On Easter Sunday, April 20, 2003, the Quebec City daily "Le Soleil" published an interview of journalist Claudette Samson with Archbishop Marc Ouellet, with this headline: "Kids are pig-ignorant as regards religion."
"The school is the place par excellence for the transmission of religious values. If it were only up to Marc Ouellet, the new Archbishop of Quebec City, the talks about the place of religion in classrooms is far from being over. Three months after his nomination as the head of the archdiocese, which received much media coverage, the Primate of the Canadian Church saw by himself that young people are pig-ignorant as regards the Catholic culture. "The kids ask me who is that guy on the cross!", he said, deeply shocked. "The debate is not over on what's left with religious teaching in schools," he said, adding that there is presently an awakening in the Church about the urgency to transmit the Faith.
"The Archbishop is hard on the teachers who, according to him, failed in their duty. For example, he criticizes the professors from the years 1970 to 1980 who, marked by Marxist ideology, had a bad influence on the young students of secondary and collegial schools, by destroying the link with the Church. "They interpreted Quebec's history as a period of great darkness, without realizing that Quebec would not have survived as a society without this close alliance between the Church and the families."
"But all is not so dark. Archbishop Ouellet says he was most impressed by the World Youth Day celebration that gathered 700 young people in Quebec City, on April 12. "When I asked them if they agreed to help me to rejuvenate the Church of Quebec, they all stood up and agreed to take on this challenge. They are a light for the future. Young people must be the missionaries among other young people. They are the ones who know best their own culture."
"The new Archbishop of Quebec City points out that Quebec is a pluralistic society, and that "there is a place for everyone in it, including Catholics", but he added that "this does not mean that the Church must let imposed upon her a new definition of marriage for homosexuals who want to consecrate their union that way."
"Archbishop Ouellet feels that the loss of spiritual values in Quebec's society has favored the emergence of mental health problems. People now rely heavily on counseling, because they no longer go to the confessional. Confession had an extraordinary therapeutic effect," he said.
"To conclude, the present tragic cultural situation in our society is for him "a call to go back to the essential – Jesus!"
Pope John Paul's general prayer intention for the month of July is: "That governments and those responsible for the economy and finance of the world may make an effort to find modalities and conditions which guarantee all peoples the necessary means to live in a dignified way."