Cardinal Turcotte

Cardinal Turcotte falls gravely ill

  • September 24, 2014

The people of the Archdiocese of Montreal have been asked to pray for popular Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte as he lies ill in hospital. 

The archdiocese’s vicar general released a statement that said Turcotte, 78, who was Montreal’s archbishop for 22 years, “has been experiencing serious health problems for some time.” 

“Let us pray fervently for Cardinal Turcotte, for his health to improve and for there to be peace in his heart and soul,” said Msgr. Michel Parent. 

When Parent visited the cardinal, Turcotte was “entirely at peace, utterly attended to the Lord and in full acceptance of His will,” he said. “We prayed together for a long time.” 

Turcotte, a diabetic, has been in hospital for a few weeks. According to an archdiocese spokesperson, he remains in “serious but stable” condition. One report said the cardinal had been moved to palliative care, but that is untrue, said an archdiocese spokesperson. He is under care and able to take nourishment. 

Turcotte was Montreal’s archbishop from 1990 until he retired in 2012. He was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1994. 

Named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1996, Turcotte renounced the title in 2008 when the same honour was bestowed on abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler. 

Born and raised in a Montreal working-class family, and a life-long fan of the Canadiens, Turcotte is known as the cardinal of the people because of a populist, down-to-earth style. 

As archbishop he was a common site at food drives and soup kitchens, describing himself as a “man of the people.” He also wrote a popular column for many years that was published in the Journal de Montreal, and often appeared on French-language television. 

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