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Ambrožič was born in Gabrje, Slovenia as Alojzij Ambrožič. In 1945 he and his family fled to Austria, where he completed high school in various refugee camps. The family went to Canada in 1948, and Ambrozic was ordained as a priest in Toronto in 1955. He served first in Port Colborne, Ontario, and later taught at St. Augustine's Seminary in Toronto.
He also studied theology in Rome (he earned a degree in theology from the Angelicum), and in 1970 he earned a doctorate in theology at the University of Würzburg in Germany. He taught exegesis at the Toronto School of Theology from 1970 to 1976, when he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto. In 1990 he became Archbishop.
In 1998 he was created cardinal by Pope John Paul II, with the Titulus Ss. Marcellini et Petri, and he is currently a member of the College of Cardinals. He was appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants in 1990, the Congregation for the Clergy in 1991, the Pontifical Council for Culture in 1993, and to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 1999. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He retired on December 16, 2006.
During his archiepiscopate, Toronto hosted World Youth Day in 2002. He is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage in Canada. Ambrožič was succeeded as archbishop of Toronto by Thomas Christopher Collins in early 2007.
Ambrožič has been a somewhat contentious figure in Canadian Catholicism, and the subject of vocal opposition from some liberal or progressive Catholics and ex-Catholics for his conservative stands. At the same time, he rejected a request from the Toronto Traditional Mass Society (the local chapter of Una Voce) to invite the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to offer Tridentine Masses in the archdiocese.
Gerald Emmett Carter
|Archbishop of Toronto|
17 March 1990–16 December 2006
| Succeeded by|
Thomas Christopher Collins