|Title||Archbishop emeritus of Montreal|
|Period in office||March 25, 1950—April 20, 1968|
|Successor||Paul Grégoire †|
|Previous post||Rector of Pontifical Canadian College|
|Created cardinal||January 12, 1953|
|Date of birth||April 26, 1904|
|Place of birth||Valleyfield, Canada|
|Date of death||November 13, 1991|
|Place of death||Montreal, Canada|
|Styles of |
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Paul-Émile Léger, CC, GOQ, PSS (April 26, 1904—November 13, 1991) was a Canadian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Montreal from 1950 to 1968, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.
Early life and ordination
Paul-Émile Léger was born in Valleyfield, Quebec, to Ernest and Alda (née Beauvais) Léger; his younger brother, Jules Léger, was Governor General of Canada from 1974 to 1979. From 1916 to 1925, he attended the Seminary of Sainte-Thérèse, but was forced to interrupt his studies for a period of four years due to illness. Léger entered the Jesuit novitiate at Sault-au-Récollet, but was considered too emotional to continue in that order.
Professor and thologian
After attending the Seminary of Montreal (from where he obtained a licentiate in theology in 1929), he was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1929. Léger then joined the Society of Saint-Sulpice, entering its novitiate in Issy-les-Moulineaux. He went on to study at the Catholic Institute of Paris, and received his doctorate in canon law in 1931.
He taught theology at Saint-Sulpice Seminary in Paris for a year, and served as assistant Master of Novices from 1932 to 1933, when he was sent to Japan to create a seminary in Fukuoka for the formation of indigenous priests. .
Léger did pastoral work in Omuta and taught philosophy at its seminary until 1939. Returning to Canada during World War II, he was Professor of Sociology in Montreal and Professor of Apologetics at the Pius XI Institute from 1939 to 1940
In 1940 he was named Vicar General of Valleyfield, and was raised to the rank of Monsignor on September 29, 1942. Léger had to temporarily leave the Society of Saint-Sulpice upon assuming his diocesan duites, but later entered the Society again in 1947, when he also became rector of the Pontifical Canadian College in Rome.
On March 25, 1950, he was named Archbishop of Montreal by Pope Pius XII. Léger received his episcopal consecration on the following April 26 from Cardinal Adeodato Giovanni Piazza, OCD, with Archbishop Maurice Roy and Bishop Jean-Julien Weber, PSS, serving as co-consecrators.
He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli by Pius XII in the consistory of January 12, 1953, and was one of the electors in the 1958 papal conclave, which selected Pope John XXIII. During his tenure in Montreal, he also prohibited his clergy from retaining membership in Rotary clubs.
Later careerNational Order of Quebec. He was the 1979 recipient of the first Pearson Medal of Peace for his humanitarian work.
Retirement and death
From May 2, 1989 until his death, he was the Cardinal Protopriest, or the longest-serving member of the order of Cardinal Priests.
Role during the Council
The Cardinal was a leading liberal force at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). With the assistance of Cardinals Antonio Caggiano and Norman Gilroy, he delivered one of the closing messages of the Council on December 8, 1965.
- Before becoming a priest, Léger worked as a mechanic, railroad worker, and butcher.
- His father Ernest was a local storekeeper, and his brother Jules was a career diplomat who eventually became Governor General of Canada in 1974.
- Léger sought the enforcement of Canada's laws against liquor, bingo, lotteries, and bachelor parties.
- He supported Archbishop Roy's banning of Father Georges-Henri Lévesque from the Canadian Parliament.
- Many Catholic schools at the elementary and secondary level in Canada are named for him.
- ↑ TIME Magazine. Change of Command April 3, 1950
- ↑ TIME Magazine. Worldly Rotary January 22, 1951
- ↑ TIME Magazine. The Cardinal and the Lepers May 16, 1969
- ↑ Christus Rex. To Men of Though and Science
- ↑ A Cardinal for a Leper Colony November 17, 1967
- ↑ TIME Magazine. No More Galileos November 6, 1964
- ↑ TIME Magazine. A Test of Good Will October 9, 1964
- ↑ TIME Magazine. Chats Under a Hot Tin Roof August 2, 1963
- ↑ TIME Magazine. 24 Hats December 8, 1952
- ↑ TIME Magazine. The Church Said No February 7, 1955
|Archbishop of Montreal|
| Succeeded by|