Pontifications

Pontifications


Montreal Cardinal: Abortion sometimes only choice

posted by David Gibson

Cardinal Turcotte.jpgCardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte made the comments in reference to the widely-publicized case of the nine-year-old sexually abused girl in Brazil impregnated with twins by her stepfather.

In his interview with Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper (click here for the original en Francais), Cardinal Turcotte also gave his views of Pope Benedict’s condom comments in Africa, saying it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that the pope said condoms should not be used.

The interview is certainly not something you hear every day from a cardinal, and naturally some are upset, such as at LifeSite, which has the story here.

In reference to the Brazil case, Cardinal Turcotte said:

“Personally, I am against murder, but can understand that sometimes, when someone is being attacked, they need to kill someone in self-defense. I am against abortion, but I can understand that in certain cases, there is almost no other choice than to practice it.”

Turcotte had also criticized the excommunications by the local archbishop, saying the case called for a more “evangelical” approach.

On the pope’s condoms remarks, Turcotte, it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that the Pope said condoms should not be used.

“Essentially, the pope said that it took two things to fight this disease, the means, but also a change of mentality. He pronounced this sentence to show that condoms were not in and of themselves the perfect solution; we took his words out of context and all this was largely amplified.”

“As if the pope had said that condoms should not be used. This is ridiculous! When someone has AIDS, it is his or her responsibility to protect the people with whom he or she has intercourse.”

The latter comment certainly seems to be where mainstream Catholic teaching is, even in the Vatican! I think his take on the pope’s intent probably spot-on. His remarks about the girl in Brazil will likely be less well-received, because he said publicly what many only say–or think–privately.

H/T: CWNews.

 



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 10:40 am


Cardinal Turcotte was born in 1936, he is on his way out I guess. Cardinal Daneels, anotther birth control Cardinal, was born in 1933.
I don’t want to judge the Cardinal, but for the sake of Quebec/Canadian society, which has one of the highest abortion rates in the Western world, it is not appropriate that he make such statements right now. There are tens of thousands of abortion every year in just the city of Montreal !
Turcotte was friends with Pierre Trudeau, a pro-abortion politician who legalized the procedure way back in 1968. He basically owes his Church carreer to Trudeau and could not have advanced without him. So it isn’t like Turcotte is a freethinker or something. the same thing would be true for Daneels.



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Gerard Nadal

posted April 16, 2009 at 11:10 am


“In reference to the Brazil case, Cardinal Turcotte said:
‘Personally, I am against murder, but can understand that sometimes, when someone is being attacked, they need to kill someone in self-defense. I am against abortion, but I can understand that in certain cases, there is almost no other choice than to practice it.’ ”
David,
What do you see as so controversial in this statement? Cardinal Turcotte is alluding to the Principle of Double Effect. Early pregnancy in a woman discovered to have late stage ovarian or cervical cancers ectopic pregnancies and cases such as the nine year old who could not even bring the babies to the point where they could be taken at six months by C-section, all fall under this principle.



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RJohnson

posted April 16, 2009 at 12:16 pm


Gerard: “What do you see as so controversial in this statement? Cardinal Turcotte is alluding to the Principle of Double Effect. Early pregnancy in a woman discovered to have late stage ovarian or cervical cancers ectopic pregnancies and cases such as the nine year old who could not even bring the babies to the point where they could be taken at six months by C-section, all fall under this principle.”
And yet, Gerard, you were one who was chastising the doctors and the mother for even considering abortion when this story first broke. Only after the details came out (something that the doctors on site had from day one) did you move to the position that this fell under the principle of Double Effect.
In earlier posts you have taken the position of being against health and life exceptions in any proposed abortion ban here in the US. How does that position square with your acknowledgment of the double effect principle in this case?
Absent the stark example in Brazil, could/would you have supported the Cardinal’s position?



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm


I actually had a question…my best friend was pregnant about 4
weeks along. She takes alot of medication for mental and emotional problems, and did not intend to get pregnant because she was protecting herself…and her doctor told her that she most likely would lose the baby if she stayed on her medications. She tried to wean off as she was told,but she began having major Panic attacks, so the doctor told her to start taking her medications again, to her dismay the baby stopped growing at 5 weeks.(this was checked by a sonogram) So,even being Catholic she decided to abort the baby instead of having to go thru delivering the still-born. I myself was actually was wondering if that was understandable for her to do that being a Catholic and all? I also am Catholic…that is why I am asking.Please respond as soon as you are able to. Thanks!



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Lauren

posted April 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Your Name,
Since the fetus is dead and no longer viable I believe it is morally acceptable, even for Catholics, to remove the body of the fetus. Personally, I think it would be psychologically harmful to force a heart broken mother to be to carry her dead fetus to “birth” which is typically such a joyous occasion…these are my thoughts, however. I hope your best friend is doing okay.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm


Your Name, if the preborn child was already dead then it wasnt an abortion, it was only removing the fetal remains. A procured abortion is where a female is KILLING the preborn child and it is NOT understandable to do that just because someone doesnt want to give birth to a stillborn later on. If the preborn child was already dead then there isnt a problem to remove the fetal remains. I have known quite a few women that have been advised to kill their preborn child for reasons like it will kill the mother if she doesnt abort or something is wrong with the preborn. Turns out the doctors were wrong. If when a doctor advises abortion get a few other doctors opinions. For more information on what the Church teaches on abortion check out Priests For Life.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm


There is some truth to the statements of the Montreal Cardinal. The Brazilian Bishop is punishing the victim. Remember the children were the product of incest. King David and Bethsheba first child died because of their sins…On the condom issue, the Pope is correct condoms (by themselves) will not solve the AIDS crisis in Africa.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm


Regards the psychiatric meds, was the person told of the risks of the meds if she were to become pregnant? if not, that would grounds for malpractice.



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Bryan Cones

posted April 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm


Great post, David. You wouldn’t expect a U.S. bishop to say something so measured and intelligent about this difficult case–not sure if any U.S. bishop touched it. Would be nice to have more people like Turcotte?
Not sure I agree with you and the cardinal about the HIV question. This sounds like Turcotte trying to finesse the pope’s remarks. B16 was surely ready for that HIV question en route to Africa; if he’d wanted to be more nuanced, he could have been.
That said, I think you’re right that the general consensus on the issue is the nuanced one, even in the Vatican and certainly among the world’s bishops: condoms along with abstinence and being faithful. Unfortunately, there seems to be resistance somewhere in the Holy See to saying that plain.



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Mere Catholic

posted April 16, 2009 at 5:53 pm


Bryan,
It’s interesting that you chose the order you did- using condoms, practicing abstinence, being faithful- in reference to a supposed consensus among Bishops regarding HIV prevention in Africa. Uganda is the only African country that has had a successful (as in measurable decreases in the HIV incident population)HIV prevention program and their approach follows a different order, being focused on monogamy and abstinence, followed by condoms. There is, in much of the HIV prevention literature, a real debate that examines whether the Western nations have had it wrong with the usual approach of condom pushing upon Africa. Edward Green, a Harvard epidemiologist whose work is centered on HIV prevention strategies in Africa, has been at the forefront of this proposal. That he, who is a self-labelled “liberal”, among others not in the Church would take such a view should cause us all to take a critical examination of this issue and question the latex orthodoxy. The Pope’s remarks cannot of course be divorced from traditional Catholic teaching on the sexual act, but seems to me that there is more than faith and doctrine to back his position.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 7:01 pm


I can find myself agreeing to Cardinal Turcotte’s position completely.
Abortion is not to be encouraged–but there are times when abortion is the only way out of a worse situation (the impregnated 9-year-old in Brazil). And yes, the archbishop in Brazil was less than pastoral.
I can also agree with the Cardinal’s approach to the Condom issue (especially in Africa with its huge outbreak of HIV). Our Cardinals and Arch/bishops in US, should be as clear and courageous as Cardinal Turcotte is.



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Gerard Nadal

posted April 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm


RJohnson,
Happy Easter to you! If you return to my earlier posts, my position was very clear and consistent. I maintained then, as I do now, that IF the babies could be brought to 27-30 weeks gestation and taken in a C-section, without endangering the mother, then that would at least give them a fighting chance. Once the details came out about the mother’s weight (66 lbs.) it was evident that the babies were beyond hope.
Some 9-10 year olds are considerably more developed skeletally and could bring a baby, even twins, that far along. So, go back and read. It’s all there.
Hope your Easter was wonderful.
God Bless.



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Your Name

posted April 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm


Speaking of Psychiatric meds, has the Cardinal taken his lately? Time to retire, Turcotte.
While I agree that a 9-year-old should not raise a child, the likelihood of any genuine health risk in continuing an already advanced pregnancy was miniscule, if nonexistent. The humane solution would have been to bring the pregnancy to term and adopt out the twins.
To imply the Pope supports the use of condoms is nothing less than delusional.



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MarcM

posted April 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm


“While I agree that a 9-year-old should not raise a child, the likelihood of any genuine health risk in continuing an already advanced pregnancy was miniscule, if nonexistent. The humane solution would have been to bring the pregnancy to term and adopt out the twins.”
You know, all you doctors who are diagnosing this case from a continent away just amaze me. Do you mind, if the next time you or a loved one are ill, pick up the phone and give me a call. I will be happy to diagnose your case without seeing you, knowing your medical history, or even having a medical degree.



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RJohnson

posted April 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm


Hello, Gerard!
Easter was restful and restorative, in spite of a couple of medical tests (that, thankfully, came back with excellent reports). Hopefully your Easter was equally restorative and refreshing.
Some time back (and I am not certain which blog we were on at the time), you and I disagreed on the issue of having an exception for the mother’s life and health in any proposed abortion ban. It’s been a while, and with events as they are I will admit that my memory may not be 100% on it. But I am curious.
Has the story of the young girl in Brazil and the death of her two babies done anything to change/modify/inform your opinion on how any abortion ban should be formulated in this country? Should there be exceptions for legitimate cases of endangerment to the life of the mother, or to the mother’s health? If so, how should these exceptions be determined: by the government or by the attending physician(s) and the mother? If not, how would US law accomodate the case of this unfortunate young girl and her unborn twins?



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Your Name

posted April 17, 2009 at 5:41 pm


Wow! No wonder the Church is in the mess it is in.A Cardinal stating that abortion and condoms are okey in some instances? What Catholic Church does he attend? No wonder the laity is so confused when even a Cardinal doesn’t understand church doctrine. Further more, if the Pope proposes abortion or condoms for any situations, he would no longer be a legitimate Catholic pope.Please God, take me back to my childhood days when abortion was a dirty word, and condoms were never a consideration, even with Protestants. May God have mercy on our souls!



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pagansister

posted April 17, 2009 at 8:39 pm


Turcotte sounds like one of the more intelligent Cardinals in the church and to make it better, says what he thinks…even if it doesn’t agree with Benny. I’m impressed!



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pagansister

posted April 17, 2009 at 8:53 pm


Your Name at 7:50 PM 16 April,
You honestly think the 9 year old, 66 lb girl should have carried twins to term and put them up for adoption? I really hope you were kidding! No 9 year old of any weight should carry even one fetus to term, never mind 2.



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Your Name

posted April 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm


Excuse me, but it would certainly be nice if pagansister(that title certainly says alot) would have some respect for our pope, considering he is the number one man under God on earth, and quit referring to the pope as “Benny”



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pagansister

posted April 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm


It’s said with “love”, YN.
Unfortunately I have about as much respect for him as I did for “W”.



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Andrea

posted April 19, 2009 at 10:37 am


Anyone who would expect a tiny, emotionally traumatized 9-year-old rape victim to carry twins to term is a barbarian. In that case, the girl’s life was at risk and aborting the babies was self-defense, something which is allowable. The babies died as a result of the evil their father had committed and because they could not be born without killing their mother or, at least, causing her permanent harm. There ARE cases when abortion must be allowed.



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Your Name

posted April 20, 2009 at 4:30 am


Foetus created by incest have a much higher risk of developmental issues within the womb and throughout stages of growth in childhood. Was it not necessary for Adam to impregnate his daughter for us to be here today?



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Jim McCrea

posted April 22, 2009 at 3:13 pm


Heavens … a cardinal with cojones! Will wonders never cease?
His next assignment will be to Winnemucca or Somalia.



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tony

posted May 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm


The unborn can never be considered an unjust aggressor. His eminence has none of the above mentioned “cojones” if he’s rationalizing the worst. Lord have mercy.



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