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Montreal cardinal challenges Church teaching on abortion, condoms

April 15, 2009

Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal signaled a willingness to accept abortion in extreme cases, and argued that condom use could be "a duty" at times-- contradicting Church teaching on both issues -- in a stunning interview with the Canadian daily Le Devoir.

Speaking about a controversial case in Brazil, in which a 9-year-old girl aborted twins, Cardinal Turcotte said that Brazilian Church leaders had been "clumsy" in their public comments, and argued that a more pastoral approach was necessary. "Personally I am against abortion," he said, "but I can understand that in some cases, one almost has no other choice."

Responding to another recent controversy, the Canadian cardinal said that in his highly publicized remarks on condoms and AIDS, Pope Benedict XVI had not intended to say that condom use was always wrong. What the Pontiff really meant, the cardinal claimed, is that "condoms are not by themselves the perfect solution."

Cardinal Turcotte went on to say that in fact, condom use is morally obligatory for someone infected with AIDS. "When someone has AIDS," he said, "it is his duty to protect the people with whom he has relations."


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