Canadian cardinals: 1886-2012

There have been 16 Canadian cardinals in the 2,000-year history of the Roman Catholic pontificate. The most recent to be appointed is Toronto Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins. We take a look at the others who have served as advisors to and electors of the pope.

To date, 16 Canadian bishops chosen to advise, elect Roman Catholic pope

Montreal Archbishop Jean-Claude Turcotte receives his red biretta from Pope John Paul II during a ceremony inducting him into the College of Cardinals at the Vatican on Nov. 26, 1994. The Vatican announced the appointment of 22 new cardinals, including one Canadian, Thomas C. Collins, on Jan. 6, 2012. They will be inducted on Feb. 18. (Luciano Mellace/Reuters)

There have been 16 Canadians appointed Roman Catholic cardinals to date. The most recent is Toronto Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins.

Thomas Christopher Collins, archbishop of Toronto, speaks to parishioners at St. Michaels Cathedral in Toronto on Jan. 13, 2010. Collins was named a cardinal on Jan. 6, 2012, and will be the third Canadian currently serving on the Vatican's College of Cardinals. (Mike Cassese /Reuters)

Collins's appointment on Jan. 6, 2012, brings the number of Canadians currently serving in the Vatican's College of Cardinals to three. The other two are Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, and Jean-ClaudeTurcotte, archbishop of Montreal.

The main duty of cardinals is to elect the pope, although only those younger than 80 are allowed to cast a vote. They also advise the pope.

The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, the presbyteral order and the diaconal order.

Cardinal priests and deacons are each assigned a title or a deaconry in Rome. Eastern patriarchs have their patriarchal see as a title.

Currently, there are 214 cardinals, 125 of whom are under the age of 80.


Canadian cardinals Marc Ouellet, top, and Jean-Claude Turcotte. (Francis Vachon/ Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Thomas Christopher Collins: Born in Guelph, Ont., Collins has been archbishop of Toronto since 2007. His cardinal appointment was announced Jan. 6, 2012, and he will be formally inducted into the College of Cardinals on Feb. 18.

Marc Ouellet: Born in Lamotte, Que., in 1944. In 2002, the Vatican named him archbishop of Quebec, which has the oldest Roman Catholic archdiocese in North America. Pope John Paul made him a cardinal-priest on Oct. 21, 2003.

Jean-Claude Turcotte: Born in Montreal, Turcotte has been archbishop of Montreal since 1990 and was appointed cardinal in 1994 by Pope John Paul.


Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic: Born in Slovenia and emigrated to Canada in 1948. He was the archbishop of Toronto from 1990 until 1998, when he was appointed cardinal. Ambrozic died in August 2011.

Edouard Gagnon: Born in Port Daniel, Que., in 1918, Gagnon was bishop of Saint Paul, Alta., from 1969 to 1972. Pope John Paul made him a cardinal-deacon in 1985 and elevated him to cardinal-priest in 1996. he died in August 2007.

Louis-Albert Vachon: Vachon served as archbishop of Quebec from 1981 to 1990. He was the sixth archbishop of Quebec to become a cardinal when Pope John Paul appointed him in 1985. Born in Quebec in 1912, Vachon died in September 2006.

Cardinals pray as Pope Benedict XVI leads the Christmas mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Dec. 24, 2011. (Max Rossi /Reuters)

Gerald Emmett Carter: Born in Montreal in 1912, he served as archbishop of Toronto from 1978 to 1990 and was appointed cardinal by Pope John Paul in 1979. Carter died in April 2003.

Paul Grégoire: Grégoire was archbishop of Montreal from 1968 to 1990 and was appointed cardinal by Pope John Paul in 1988. He was born in Montreal in 1911 and died there in 1993.

George Bernard Flahiff: Flahiff was born in Paris, Ont., in 1905 and died in Toronto in 1989. He was archbishop of Winnipeg from 1960 to1982 and was appointed cardinal by Paul VI in 1969.

Maurice Roy: Paul VI appointed Roy cardinal in 1965. He served as archbishop of Quebec from 1947 to 1981 and died in 1985.

Montreal Archbishop Paul-Emile Leger talks to the press in Rome on Nov.29, 1952, after being named cardinal. (Canadian Press/Associated Press)

Paul-Émile Léger: Born in 1904 in Valleyfield, Que., Léger was made a cardinal by Pius XII in 1953. He served as archbishop of Montreal from 1950 to 1968 and died in Montreal in 1991.

James Charles McGuigan: Born on Prince Edward Island in 1894, McGuigan served as archbishop of Toronto from 1934 to 1971. Pius XII appointed McGuigan cardinal in 1946. He died in 1974.

Jean-Marie-Rodrigue Villeneuve: Villeneuve was archbishop of Quebec from 1931 to 1947. He was appointed cardinal by Pius XI in 1933. The Montreal-born Villeneuve died in California in 1947.

Felix-Raymond-Marie Rouleau: Pius XI made Rouleau, the archbishop of Quebec from 1926 to 1931, a cardinal in 1927. Rouleau died in 1931.

Louis Nazaire Bégin: Bégin was archbishop of Quebec from 1898 to 1925 and appointed cardinal in 1914 by Benedict XV. He was born in Quebec in 1840 and died in 1925.

Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau: Taschereau, who served as archbishop of Quebec from 1870 to 1898, was the first Canadian-born cardinal. He was appointed by Leo XIII in 1886 and died in 1898.


Thomas Weld: Weld was born in London, U.K., and appointed coadjutor, or assistant, to the bishop of Kingston, Ont., in 1826 but never actually came to live in Canada and resigned the post in 1830. He was made cardinal that same year by Pius VIII and died in 1837.