Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 1, 2004
Copps 'facts' denied
Cardinal Turcotte says he did not do Trudeau homily
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte has joined a growing list of public figures to deny accusations made by a former Liberal cabinet minister in a controversial new book.
Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal and a former president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), said in an interview claims made about him in the book by former deputy prime minister Sheila Copps are "untrue."
In Worth Fighting For, Copps says the cardinal was responsible for booking Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal for the funeral of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau in October 2000 but that Trudeau was forced to lie in state at City Hall because the basilica was booked.
"Cardinal Turcotte, ever the politically correct Quebecer, somehow could not arrange to clear the (basilica) for a prime minister of Canada because that would mean rearranging a concert," Copps wrote.
"A couple of years later, the same cardinal had no problem organizing a quasi-state funeral for Pierre Bourgeault, a rabid separatist," Copps added. "In the topsy-turvy world of Quebec politics, being a federalist and a prime minister was enough to deny Pierre Trudeau, a devout Catholic, the full services of the (basilica) for his burial."
Copps also wrote that during Trudeau's funeral, "I listened in vain for the word 'Canadian' or 'Canada' in the cardinal's eulogy. It was left to Justin Trudeau to overcome the cardinal's grudging words."
But Turcotte, shown the Gazette article moments earlier, said he did not give the homily at the funeral, it was Father Jean-Guy Dubuc. "I was not the one who made the homily," he said.
He declined further comment other than to say the allegations were untrue.
The three eulogies at the funeral were all given by laymen, including Justin Trudeau, a son of the former prime minister. He used the word "Canadian" once and "Canada" only in describing Alert as "Canada's northernmost point."
In an Oct. 23 article in which it published excerpts from the book, the Montreal Gazette noted that Copps was heritage minister at the time of Trudeau's death and was responsible for organizing the ceremonies.
Liberal cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats have accused Copps of fabricating stories in her book that Martin had proposed abolishing the Canada Health Act and that he wanted to privatize the CBC.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.