Bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Victoria, De Roo was an outspoken liberal within Canadian Catholicism for several decades prior to his retirement in 1999. At that time he was the longest-serving Catholic bishop in Canada, much admired for his stances on world peace and social justice. In March of 2000 his reputation was greatly tarnished with revelations that his Diocese had accumulated $17 million in debts, mostly through high-risk investments and an Arabian racehorse venture. De Roo wrote a public letter of apology, taking responsibility. In 1992, Patrick Jamieson published a sympathetic, 415-page biography called In The Avant Garde: The Prophetic Catholicism of Remi De Roo and Politics Within the Catholic Church. The book looks at De Roo's childhood in rural Manitoba and traces his rise as 'Red Remi'. The book also profiles other Canadian political priests including Archbishop Joseph Charbonneau of Montreal, and Fathers Eugene Cullinane and Bob Ogle, both of Saskatchewan.

Born in Swan Lake, Manitoba on Februrary 24, 1924, De Roo was ordained as a priest in 1950 and received his doctorate in Rome just two years later. He came to B.C. as the new bishop of Vancouver Island in 1962. He became a founding member of the World Council of Religions for Peace and served as chair of the B.C. Human Rights Commission. With two other 'relativist' Catholics, Mary Jo Leddy and Douglas Roche, he co-wrote In The Eye of the Catholic Story: The Church Since Vatican II (HarperCollins, 1992). His previous books include Cries of Victims--Voices of God (1986) and A Cause de L'Evangile (1988).

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2003] "Religion"