Jean-Claude Turcotte

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
His Eminence
Jean-Claude Turcotte
Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal
Archdiocese Montreal
Province Montreal
See Montreal
Appointed 17 March 1990
Term ended 20 March 2012
Predecessor Paul Grégoire
Successor Christian Lépine
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora del Santissimo Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi
Ordination 24 May 1959
by Laurent Morin
Consecration 9 June 1982
by Paul Card. Grégoire
Created Cardinal 26 November 1994
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1936-06-26) June 26, 1936 (age 78)
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Montréal and Titular Bishop of Suas (1982–1990)
  • Servir le Seigneur dans la Joie
  • (Serve the Lord in Joy)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Jean-Claude Turcotte
Coat of arms of Jean-Claude Turcotte.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Jean-Claude Turcotte (born June 26, 1936) is a Roman Catholic cardinal. His full title is "Cardinal Priest of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Canadian Martyrs". He was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal from 1990 to 2012.


Born in Montreal, Turcotte attended Collège André-Grasset from 1947 to 1955, the Grand Seminaire and the Université de Montréal, where he gratued with a degree in theology. He was ordained a priest on May 24, 1959. In 1965 he earned a diploma in social ministry in Lille, France. On April 14, 1982, his appointment as the titular bishop of Suas (a titular see in what is today Tunisia) and auxiliary bishop of Montreal was announced. He was consecrated on June 29 that year. When Pope John Paul II visited Canada in 1984, Turcotte organized his visit to Montreal.

He was appointed Archbishop of Montreal on March 17, 1990. John Paul II appointed him a Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora del SS. Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi on February 28, 1994. From 1997 to 2000 he was president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Turcotte has participated in the 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2002 World Youth Days.

Turcotte is known for his work with the poor and writes a weekly religion column in the Sunday edition of the Journal de Montréal. In 1997, he gave his opinion about Quebec being a distinct society.[1]

He was a voting member (cardinal elector) of the College of Cardinals in the 2005 papal conclave. Margaret Hebblethwaite, co-author of the book The Next Pope, identified him as papabile. Other books and the BBC also identified him as a long-shot possibility for Pope.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that selected Pope Francis.

Daniel Cere, head of the Newman Centre at McGill University, told The Toronto Star that Turcotte "is very much a pastoral figure, much like John Paul II."[citation needed] A Toronto priest told the newspaper he was "your man if you want a pastoral bon vivant Pope John XXIII figure."[citation needed] John Allen wrote in the 2002 book Conclave that Turcotte was seen as a "diamond in the rough, a potentially magnificent leader who is still finding his way."[citation needed] His lack of proficiency in the Italian language, as well as his lack of international experience, were seen as shortcomings. Turcotte is eligible to participate and vote in any future conclaves before his 80th birthday on 26 June 2016.



In 2007, Turcotte presided over the funeral of Supreme Court judge Antonio Lamer, who controversially decided to remove all restrictions to abortion in Tremblay v. Daigle in 1989. At the funeral, Turcotte praised Lamer as “a giant of the law” and a man “who worked a great deal for justice”.[2] He was not, however, directly addressing the subject of abortion when he spoke those words.

On September 11, 2008, Turcotte returned his Order of Canada (appointed in 1996) insignia in protest of the induction of pro-choice activist Henry Morgentaler on July 1, 2008. The return of his insignia happened later than that of others who had protested against Morgentaler's entry because Turcotte had hoped that the Consultative Council for the Order of Canada would revise its decision. Eventually, fearing that his silence on the matter might be misinterpreted, Turcotte renounced his title Officer of the Order of Canada and returned his insignia.[3] This became effective on June 1, 2009.[4]

In 2009, Turcotte said in an interview that "I can understand that in certain cases, there is almost no other choice than to practice (abortion)", which was seen as controversial in light of his previous condemnation of Morgentaler.[5]

Political ties[edit]

In 2004, he criticized statements by former minister Sheila Copps about Turcotte's relationship with Pierre Trudeau.[6] He had been present at the state funeral of the former PM.

Women's ordination[edit]

Turcotte refused to accept the ordination of women after a local synod proposed the idea.[7]


  1. ^ Cardinal Turcotte on Quebec independence
  2. ^ Antonio Lamer 'liberated' Canada for abortion
  3. ^ "Cardinal Turcotte gives back Order of Canada". CBC News. September 11, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Resignations from the Order of Canada". 
  5. ^ "I can understand abortion": Montreal cardinal
  6. ^ Copps 'facts' denied
  7. ^ ¨Montreal Catholics vote for women, married men as priests
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Paul Grégoire
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Montreal
Succeeded by
Christian Lépine