Cardinal Turcotte returns Order of Canada

By 
  • September 11, 2008

{mosimage}Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, is returning his Order of Canada to protest the decision to honour Dr. Henry Morgantaler with Canada's highest civilian award.

"I feel obliged in conscience to reaffirm my convictions regarding the respect for human life, from conception to death," Turcotte said in a statement Sept. 11.

To read Cardinal Turcotte's full statement click here. Such a prominent member of the Order returning his medal during a federal election campaign could rejuvenate the heated summer debate over Morgentaler's award and rekindle the abortion debate.

The cardinal received the award in 1996 from then Governor General Romeo Leblanc. The cardinal said he was away when the Morgentaler award was announced on July 1 and he had hoped the widespread opposition would force the advisory committee for the Order of Canada to reconsider its recommendation.

Since that hasn't happened, and because he feared his silence could be misinterpreted, the cardinal decided to return his medal.

Turcotte joins Fr. Lucien Larré, members of the Madonna House Apostolate, former New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor Gilbert Finn and others who have returned their Order of Canada medals since the July announcement that Morgantaler would be admitted to the Order.

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