Cardinal Paul-Émile Léger
Cardinal Léger was bestowed the Loyola Medal in 1967. Here is the citation read at the ceremony.
“Outstanding leadership and achievement on the Canadian scene, by reason of the character, philosophy, and contribution to the heritage of ·Canada of the recipient. “
To whom, more appropriately, might these terms, the criteria for the award of the Loyola Medal, apply than to Paul-Emile, Cardinal Leger, Archbishop of Montreal?
Priest, teacher, missionary, pastor of his flock, renowned and loved for his own great love and compassion for the poor, the aged, the sick, the very young, the disabled, the underprivileged, and all of those whose lot in life has been misfortune rather than good fortune, misery rather than joy, disillusionment rather than fulfillment.
Founder of seminaries, rector of the prestigious Canadian College at Rome, Archbishop, Cardinal Prince of the Church, leader of thought and of action in the preparations for, the carrying out, and the aftermath of the Great Council Vatican I; collaborator of His Holiness Paul VI, leading proponent of the ecumenical spirit of this day, recipient of a multitude of honours conferred by Church, by States and by the academic community, outstanding personality in this City, Province, and Canada itself.
In the person of Paul-Emile, Cardinal Leger, no paradox occurs, no contradiction arises in the presence of such diverse qualities. In this age of revolution, cultural, educational, moral, quiet and otherwise, essential truth shines forth from him.
Error is exposed. True progress is encouraged; rather it is initiated and insisted upon by him. Both clergy and laity, at all levels, are led by him to take their rightful place and to do their full duty - in the church, in the community, in the nation, and in the world.
From him, we know that the miseries of the African tribesman, of the Asian rice farmer, of the poor of our own community and of those unfortunates trapped in a life of crime or of vice, must be of more immediate and vital interest to us than our affluent society, the expansion of industry and commerce, the profusion of great new buildings and works, and advances in science and learning. For he has seen with his own eyes all of these, and setting such things in their due perspective he tells us that these latter phenomena are of benefit and validity only insofar as they may alleviate and redress the inequalities and injustices posed by the former.
By the brilliance of his career and its accomplishments; by the embodiment in him of that greatest of virtues, charity; by his message, which he not only preaches but lives to the full all of' his days; by his humility; by his wisdom; by his devotion and great service - we of Loyola, and all of the community, are continually edified.
Your Eminence; we are here tonight to honour you because of all of these things - but you, by your presence and your acceptance of what we have to offer, do us a much greater honour. Four thousand former students of Loyola, who form the Loyola Alumni Association, join their alma mater in bestowing upon you, as its second recipient, the highest honour in their gift – the Loyola Medal.