Magazine article National Catholic Reporter


Magazine article National Catholic Reporter


Article excerpt

Toronto Cardinal G. Emmett Carter Helped institute reforms of Vatican II

Canadian Cardinal G. Emmett Carter, former archbishop of Toronto and a participant in the Second Vatican Council, died April 6 after a brief illness. He was 91. The cardinal headed the Toronto archdiocese for 12 years, from 1978 to 1990, when he retired at age 78. He had suffered a stroke in 1981. Pope John Paul made him a cardinal in 1979. Before his appointment to Toronto, the cardinal had served 16 years first as auxiliary bishop and then as bishop of the London diocese in Ontario, Canada.

According to the Toronto Star, Carter was author of several influential books on education, a friend of John Paul, and known for "moving comfortably in political and business circles, claming friends among the province's powerbrokers."

Gerald Emmett Carter was born in 1912, in Montreal to a family of eight children. After attending Montreal's Sulpician-run Grand Seminary, he was ordained a priest in 1937 at the age of 25.

In 1965, at the Second Vatican Council in Rome, he was named a member of the Council for the Liturgy. He was also made president of the Canadian bishops' liturgy office, and later of the bishops' doctrinal commission.

Carter was an outspoken leader whose positions occasionally led to criticism from some conservative voices in the church, especially regarding Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's encyclical opposing artificial birth control. Carter wrote the Canadian bishops' response to the document, and said that if Catholics found they were unable to follow the teachings in the letter, they were to follow their own consciences.

During his episcopacy in Toronto, salaries and benefits were improved for lay ministers. Carter often received praise for his efforts at improving race relations, and he led a successful effort to bring funding from the Ontario province to Catholic high schools. …

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