Jean-Claude Turcotte

Last updated

Jean-Claude Turcotte
Archbishop Emeritus of Montreal
Jean-Claude Turcotte.jpg
Church Roman Catholic Church
Archdiocese Montreal
Province Montreal
Metropolis Montreal
See Montreal
Appointed17 March 1990
Term ended20 March 2012
Predecessor Paul Grégoire
Successor Christian Lépine
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora del Santissimo Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi
Ordination24 May 1959
by  Laurent Morin
Consecration9 June 1982
by  Paul Grégoire
Created cardinal26 November 1994
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Born(1936-06-26)26 June 1936
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Died8 April 2015(2015-04-08) (aged 78)
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Montréal (1982-1990)
  • Titular Bishop of Suas (1982–1990)
  • President of the Canadian Episcopal Conference (1997-1999)
  • Servir le Seigneur dans la Joie
  • ("Serve the Lord in joy")
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Jean-Claude Turcotte.svg
Styles of
Jean-Claude Turcotte
Coat of arms of Jean-Claude Turcotte.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Montreal

Jean-Claude Turcotte (French pronunciation:  [ʒɑ̃ klod tyʁkɔt] ); 26 June 1936 8 April 2015) was a Canadian Roman Catholic cardinal. Upon his elevation into the cardinalate he was made the Cardinal-Priest of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Canadian Martyrs. He was the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal from 1990 to 2012, and was succeeded as Archbishop by Christian Lépine.

Nostra Signora del Santissimo Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi church building in Rome, Italy

Nostra Signora del Santissimo Sacramento e dei Santi Martiri Canadesi is the Roman Catholic national church of Canada, located at 46, Via Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Rome. It is also a titular church since February 1965, when Maurice Roy became its first Cardinal-Priest. It was built in 1955 by Bruno Apollini Ghetti, and made a parish church, served by the Congregation of Priests of the Most Holy Sacrament, by Pope Pius XII. Patrick D'Rozario, CSC has held the title since 2016.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal archdiocese of the Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montréal is a Latin rite Metropolitan archdiocese that includes part of the Province of Quebec.

Christian Lépine Canadian Roman Catholic archbishop

Christian Lépine ; born 18 September 1951) has been Archbishop of Montreal since 20 March 2012.



Early life and priesthood

Jean-Claude Turcotte was born on 26 June 1936 as one of seven children to Paul-Émile Turcotte. Turcotte attended Collège André-Grasset from 1947 to 1955, the Grand Séminaire and the Université de Montréal, where he graduated with a degree in theology. [1]

Université de Montréal university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Université de Montréal is a French-language public research university in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university's main campus is located on the northern slope of Mount Royal in the Outremont and Côte-des-Neiges boroughs. The institution comprises thirteen faculties, more than sixty departments and two affiliated schools: the Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. It offers more than 650 undergraduate programmes and graduate programmes, including 71 doctoral programmes.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

He was ordained as a priest on 24 May 1959 after the completion of his studies for the priesthood. He went to Lille for further studies from 1964 to 1965. In 1965 he earned a diploma in social ministry in Lille, France.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

Lille Prefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Lille is a city at the northern tip of France, in French Flanders. On the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium, it is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region, the prefecture of the Nord department, and the main city of the European Metropolis of Lille.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.


On 14 April 1982, his appointment as the Titular Bishop of Suas (a titular see in what is now Tunisia) and Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal was announced. He was consecrated on 29 June that year in the cathedral of Montreal. When Pope John Paul II visited Canada in 1984, Turcotte organized his visit to Montreal.

A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese".

Tunisia Country in Northern Africa

Tunisia (officially the Republic of Tunisia) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

Ordination history of
Jean-Claude Turcotte
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated by Paul Card. Grégoire (Montreal)
Date29 June 1982
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Jean-Claude Turcotte as principal consecrator
Vital Massé (Auxiliary Saint-Jérôme aux.)8 December 1993
Neil E. Willard (Montreal aux.)15 August 1995
André Rivest (Montreal aux.)15 August 1995
Anthony Mancini (Montreal aux.)25 March 1999
Louis Dicaire (Montreal aux.)25 March 1999
Luc Cyr (Valleyfield)17 June 2001
Émilius Goulet (Saint-Boniface)16 September 2001
André Gazaille (Montreal aux.)25 March 2006
Lionel Gendron (Montreal aux.)25 March 2006


Turcotte was appointed Archbishop of Montreal on 17 March 1990. John Paul II appointed him a Cardinal-Priest of the titular church of Nostra Signora del SS. Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi in the consistory on 26 November 1994.

Papal consistory meeting of the College of Cardinals called by the Pope

In the Roman Catholic Church a consistory is a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals called by the pope. There are two kinds of consistories, extraordinary and ordinary. An "extraordinary" consistory is held to allow the pope to consult with the entire membership of the College of Cardinals. An "ordinary" consistory is ceremonial in nature and attended by cardinals resident in Rome. For example, the pope elevates new cardinals to the College at a consistory; Pope Francis has called consistories for ceremonies of canonization.

After his elevation to the cardinalate, he was appointed to several departments of the Roman Curia:

The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the central organization for the Church to advance its objectives.

From 1997 to 1999, he served as the president of the Canadian Episcopal Conference. Cardinal Turcotte participated in the 1993, 1997, 2000, and 2002 World Youth Days.

Cardinal Turcotte was known for his work with the poor and wrote 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. [2]

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.

Nicole Fournier, who led the Accueil Bonneau organization for the homeless, said that he "watched over people with a look that was never judgmental, ... (and) supported many social causes, especially those touching the less fortunate, notably the homeless." [3] 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." [4] His lack of proficiency in the Italian language, as well as his lack of international experience, were seen as shortcomings.


Turcotte died at the age of 78 in Montreal on 8 April 2015. [5]



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". [6] He was not, however, directly addressing the subject of abortion when he spoke those words.

On 11 September 2008, Turcotte returned his Order of Canada (appointed in 1996) insignia in protest of the induction of pro-choice activist Henry Morgentaler on 1 July 2008. Turcotte had hoped that the Consultative Council for the Order of Canada, but when it did not, Turcotte renounced his title Officer of the Order of Canada and returned his insignia. [7] This became effective on June 1, 2009. [8]

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. [9]

Political ties

In 2004, he criticized statements by former minister Sheila Copps about Turcotte's relationship with Pierre Trudeau. [10] He had been present at the state funeral of the former Prime Minister.

Women's ordination

Turcotte refused to accept the ordination of women after a local synod proposed the idea. [11]

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  1. Fitterman, Lisa (8 April 2015). "'People's priest' Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte spoke in language of hope". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  2. Cardinal Turcotte on Quebec independence Archived 2012-04-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte remembered at funeral in Montreal | The Star". Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  4. Allen, John (2002-06-11). Conclave: The Politics, Personalities and Process of the Next Papal Election. New York: Image. ISBN   9780385504539.
  5. "Jean-Claude Turcotte, Former Archbishop of Montreal, Dies at 78". New York Times. Associated Press. April 8, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  6. Antonio Lamer 'liberated' Canada for abortion Archived 2009-03-29 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Cardinal Turcotte gives back Order of Canada". CBC News. September 11, 2008.
  8. "Resignations from the Order of Canada". Archived from the original on 2009-06-06.
  9. "I can understand abortion": Montreal cardinal Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Copps 'facts' denied Archived 2005-01-12 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ¨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