Communications and Media

Exceptionally Talented

Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte is among the most remarkable public figures in Montreal and in the province of Quebec. The media, organizations of all types, and the faithful all ask him to give his view on religious, moral, and social issues.

The cardinal is an excellent communicator. He expresses himself clearly, using plain language, and in a logical manner. Everyone understands him.

When he speaks his audience is captivated, for he is gifted in the art of storytelling and has a great sense of humour. When evangelizing, his words are marked by basic human values like love, hope, and cooperation. Believers and non-believers alike listen respectfully when he speaks, for his words inspire reflection.

Father Sylvio Michaud*, a longtime friend of the cardinal, gave the following description of the cardinal's interaction with others: "He is very approachable". "People come to see him and are happy to speak with him. He is as much at ease in the presence of a homeless person as he is among business people".

Cardinal Turcotte places importance on humility, which, in his view, is not a sign of weakness. "For many," he said, "being humble means not acknowledging one's true qualities. For me, humility is truth, the truth about who I am. I am good at some things, and not at all good at others1". He does not hesitate to say that he is a better speaker than a writer, and that he is talented at popularizing complex issues.

The Cardinal and the Media

Cardinal Turcotte believes that the Church must be present in the media. "I am convinced," he declared, "that this [the media] is where a bishop can teach the greatest number of people at a time2".

Certain magazines, such as Elle Québec, Bel Âge, 7 jours, and Entreprendre, have published long interviews with him. On television, his participation is sought after, for - as they say in the industry - he has on-camera presence. He also has a calming and comforting effect on people.

The cardinal has nevertheless had painful experiences with the media, above all when dealing with sex scandals. His colourful language and bold character, veritable gifts for the media, have at times proven to be a double-edged sword.

Where moral issues involving the clergy are concerned, the press makes no compromises. Cardinal Turcotte agrees with this principle. He deplores infotainment, however, which is based on shock-effect 10-second clips that are cut out of longer responses. "It's as though it were possible to resolve situations like in Westerns, where you have the good guys and the bad guys," he said. "It's different in real life3". He does not comment on journalists' remarks.

1.  MAISONNEUVE, Pierre.  Jean-Claude Turcotte. L'homme derrière le cardinal, coll. "Les grandes entrevues Pierre Maisonneuve," Outremont: Novalis, 1998, p. 36.
2.  Ibid., p. 150.
3.  MARTINEAU, Jérôme.  "Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte. L'Église et les médias," Revue Notre-Dame du Cap, April 2006, p. ?-12.

*Father Sylvio Michaud,, worked for over 20 years at la Maison du père, first as general director, and then as associate director. Today, he is the parish priest of Saint-Jean-de-Matha, of the Montreal archdiocese.



Comment by Helene | 2015-04-09

The Cardinal was a true visionary when it came to using social media (of the time, television and print) to re-familiarize and re-evangelize the people of Quebec.
It is also true that remained humble to his flock as I witnessed on many occasions when he came to celebrations at our parish; he always took time to greet anyone who wanted to share a word.
Please add 7 and 4.*