Honorary Degree Citation - Gerald Emmett Carter*

by Russell W. Breen, June 1976

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you the Most Reverend Gerald Emmett Carter, distinguished pastor, educator and administrator.

As a pastor, Father Carter served his Church eminently. While Chaplain of the Newman Centre, he provided over the years both academic and spiritual counselling for thousands of university students and professors in the Montreal area. Presently Bishop to the Diocese of London, Ontario, he was also a member of Rome's "Consilium" for liturgy, and in the years that followed the Second Vatican Council, played a creative role in the development of the usage of the English language in the Roman Catholic liturgy. He continues to serve his Church as President of the Canadian Catholic Conference, which is the National Assembly of the Bishops of Canada.

As an educator, Dr. Carter proved that effective pedagogy and scholarship are not necessarily mutually exclusive. He taught catechetics for twenty five years and is the author of three books. Moreover, his interest as a professor was widespread; his students included not only future teachers, whom he helped to prepare, but also mature persons involved in Adult Education, with whom he had much contact as the First President of the Thomas More Institute in Montreal.

As an administrator, he played a decisive role in the establishment and eventual growth of Anglophone-Catholic education in Montreal and in the Province of Quebec. When he was first appointed Inspector of Schools for the Montreal Catholic School Commission, it immediately became apparent to him that there was a critical need in teacher-training for the Anglophone-Catholic system. His concern and relentless pursuit resulted in the establishment of teacher training courses in English at l'école Normale Jacques Cartier, and eventually in the foundation of St. Joseph's Teachers' College, which became the preparatory college for English Catholic Teachers in Quebec.

And yet, it was during his fifteen year term as Commissioner for the Montreal Catholic School Commission that he blended in consummate fashion his talents as pastor, educator and administrator. As the City of Montreal became the haven for thousands of post war immigrants, he responded personally to a need which others ignored. Prodded by his pastoral conscience to respond to the confessional and educational aspirations of these new Canadians, aware as a pedagogue of the problems this would pose for a homogeneous school population, he used his administrative skills to their limits, travelling even to Europe to recruit professors to meet the challenge at hand. The challenge was met; the English sector of the Montreal Catholic School Commission today, culturally hetergeneous at all levels, is a clear reflection of the success of Emmett Carter's efforts.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, The Most Reverend Gerald Emmett Carter, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased