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Jean-Claude Turcotte

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Jean-Claude Turcotte
No portrait (male)
Church positions
See Montréal
Title Cardinal Archbishop of Montréal
Period in office 17 March 1990 – present
Successor current
Created cardinal 26 November 1994
Date of birth 26 June 1936(1936-06-26)
Place of birth Montréal, Canada
Styles of
Jean-Claude Turcotte
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Montréal

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


Born in Montreal, Turcotte attended Collège André-Grasset from 1947 to 1955, and then studied at the Grand Seminaire. 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 he became titular bishop of Suas and auxiliary bishop of Montreal, and was consecrated on June 29 of 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 2003 World Youth Days.

Cardinal 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, and 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.

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." A Toronto priest told the newspaper he was "your man if you want a pastoral bon vivant Pope John XXIII figure." 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." His lack of proficiency in the Italian language, and his lack of international experience, were seen as shortcomings. Cardinal Turcotte will be eligible to participate and vote in any future conclaves before his 80th birthday on 26 June 2016.



In 2007, he 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, Cardinal Turcotte praised Lamer as “a giant of the law” and a man “who worked a great deal for justice”.[2]

On September 11, 2008, Cardinal Turcotte returned his Order of Canada (award 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, Cardinal 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

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

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

Episcopal succession

Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Paul Grégoire
Date of consecration: June 29, 1982
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Vital Massé (Titular Giru Marcelli, Auxiliary Saint-Jérôme) December 8, 1993
Neil E. Willard (Titular Tisedi, Auxiliary Montreal) August 15, 1995
André Rivest (Titular Thubursicum, Auxiliary Montreal) August 15, 1995
Anthony Mancini (Titular Natchitoches, Auxiliary Montreal) March 25, 1999
Louis Dicaire (Titular Thizica, Auxiliary Montreal) March 25, 1999
Luc Cyr (Valleyfield) June 17, 2001
Émilius Goulet (Saint-Boniface) September 16, 2001
André Gazaille (Titular Vaga, Auxiliary Montreal) March 25, 2006
Lionel Gendron (Titular Tagase, Auxiliary Montreal) March 25, 2006


  1. Cardinal Turcotte on Quebec independence
  2. Antonio Lamer 'liberated' Canada for abortion
  3. "Cardinal Turcotte gives back Order of Canada". 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
Religious titles
Preceded by
Paul Grégoire
Cardinal Archbishop of Montreal
la:Ioannes Claudius Turcotte

no:Jean-Claude Turcottept:Jean-Claude Turcotte ru:Тюркотт, Жан-Клод fi:Jean-Claude Turcotte

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