DOUGLAS TODD, VANCOUVER SUN
This is how retired radical Vancouver Island Bishop Remi De Roo, 92, is being described by St. Mark’s College on the UBC campus, which is hosting his talk Thursday evening:
“Bishop Remi J. De Roo is the last surviving bishop to have participated in all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council, which spanned 1962 to 1965.”
“A self-described “pilgrim” of the Council in the years since its closing, he has kept alive its goal of aggiornamento – the renewal of the Church as it relates with the world.”
This is to say the least.
Well-travelled De Roo has taken his lumps for championing the reforms and ecumenicism of Vatican II, including from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. Both suppressed many of the progressive ideals of Vatican II.
De Roo, who remains active, is much more in tune with the latest pope, Francis, who seems to have a more open, less-doctrinaire and more progressive streak (while staying true to core church traditions).
De Roo will speak Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:00 pm at St. Mark’s College, 5935 Iona Dr., Vancouver, UBC. The event is free, but registration is strongly recommended.
Here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote in 2012 on De Roo’s autobiography:
… Within Catholicism, the jury is out on whether Vatican II has achieved its goals. Many believe the reforming movement De Roo took part in building has been resisted by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
But De Roo, the world’s youngest Catholic bishop when he was appointed in 1962, is determined to keep talking about the ecumenical spirit of Vatican II “to whoever will listen.”
Even though De Roo’s autobiography is gracious and tempered, the advocate for married male Catholic priests, and for consideration of females as clergy, is candid about his unfortunate exchanges with John Paul and then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
… It was De Roo’s commitment to truth, as he saw it, that led to his initial conflict with Ratzinger. The exchange occurred in 1986 after De Roo had spoken at a U.S. conference about the need for a dialogue over ordaining women to the priesthood.
De Roo ran into obstacles when he gently urged the Vatican to consider female and married priests. Photo: De Roo with former NDP premier Glen Clark, who was raised Catholic.
De Roo ran into obstacles when he gently urged the Vatican to consider female and married priests. Photo: De Roo with former NDP premier Glen Clark, who was raised Catholic. NETHERCOTT, DIANA / VANCOUVER SUN
Ratzinger, in charge of maintaining doctrinal conformity, called De Roo to Rome to admonish him.
“This was not to be a joyous encounter,” De Roo recalls. “I was not alone in finding it galling to be treated like an errant schoolboy.”