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State funeral for John Turner in Catholic Church, Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 6, 2020.CTV News / video screen grab

TORONTO, October 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins granted a Catholic state funeral, amidst fanfare and accolades, to John Turner, who as Liberal justice minister oversaw the passage of the 1969 bill that legalized abortion in Canada and opened the floodgates to the slaughter of some 100,000 preborn children annually. 

Turner’s funeral took place on Tuesday at St. Michael’s Cathedral, where Collins, who attended the event, serves as Archbishop. Turner died at home September 19 at age 91.


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation live-streamed the event, which included four eulogies before the Mass, the first delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, arguably Canada’s most pro-abortion prime minister.

“John shared a vision with my father, and that is what led him to completely transform the Criminal Code,” said Trudeau. This may have been an oblique reference to the infamous Omnibus Bill that Turner tabled as justice minister in 1969 under Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. 

Originally drafted by Trudeau in 1967 when he was justice minister, the bill passed on May 14, 1969. It kept abortion in the Criminal Code, but permitted it under certain circumstances, notably when two doctors agreed the pregnancy threatened the life or health of the mother. The bill also decriminalized homosexuality and contraception. The Supreme Court struck the law down as unconstitutional in 1988, and Parliament has since passed no legislation on abortion, which is currently allowed during all nine months of pregnancy in Canada. 

‘Whole thing is a scandal’

That Cardinal Collins allowed Turner’s state funeral to take place at the Cathedral is a “scandal” but not unexpected, said Jim Hughes, retired president of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life political lobbying group.

“We could say we’re not surprised. Nothing surprises us in regard to this,” given the history of the bishops and the Liberal Party, he said.


That history known to pro-life advocates has been documented in Paul Litt’s 2012 biography of Turner “Elusive Destiny: The Political Vocation of John Napier Turner.”

In 1969 Turner met with the executive of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) to obtain advice on the Omnibus Bill, and he told the bishops that the law was the best his Liberal Party could do, Litt wrote.

According to Litt, then-CCCB president Bishop Alexander Carter responded, “Gentlemen, I think John has convinced us. Let’s have a drink.” 

Turner also consulted St. Michael’s University College theological faculty members, including Rev. Robert W. Crooker, who advised that while a Catholic should oppose the abortion bill, Turner also had responsibilities to his government, relates a review of Litt’s book by Interim editor Paul Tuns.

Turner received a similar opinion from an unnamed “Dominican theologian from Universities Laval” in Montreal, who also said that Catholic legislators must not impose their morals on others. 

But while Litt cast Turner as struggling with his conscience, Tuns suggested that the justice minister might well have “cherry-picked” theologians to get the answer he wanted.

What Turner believed, or thought, or was given to believe, “the bottom line is, there is right, and there is wrong,” pointed out Hughes.

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PETITION UPDATE (3/15/21) - 

Reports suggest that the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference (USCCB) is preparing a vote on what to do about pro-abortion Joe Biden (and, presumably, other abortion-promoting politicians) who continues to present himself (themselves) for Holy Communion.

Public excommunication would be a suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of scandalously promoting abortion.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this important petition.



Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing Executive Orders to destroy the protections which former President Trump offered to the unborn and to the innocence and modesty of children of the United States.

In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.

And, in another executive order, Biden seeks to force girls' athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to accept gender-confused males.

Since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was shamefully silent throughout the presidential campaign on the pre-eminent issues of abortion and gender ideology, and what Biden vowed he would do as president, it is cold comfort that their pro-life office is now speaking up about this Administration's wilful disregard for human life and for God's design of human nature (i.e., two biological sexes).

Stated plainly, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be, and the bishop, acting in unison (as the USCCB) have an obligation to the Lord (first) and to the faithful (second) to refuse Holy Communion to this grave public sinner.

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by dialoguing with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

A man who continues to use the church as a backdrop for statements about how "Catholic/religious" he is, but, at the same time, is now doing everything in his power to protect the murder of the innocent, needs to publicly repent before dialogue can begin.

The bishops should not dialogue with or congratulate someone who has publicly betrayed the Church's teaching and who is leading others astray.

It's an embarrassment and a scandal for the bishops to continue to allow him to receive Holy Communion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition today!



Prior to the election on November 3, the U.S. bishops did not address Joe Biden’s anti-Catholic position regarding faith and morals as a unified body.

The USCCB, the organization to which every U.S. bishop belongs and which is staffed and led by bishops, remained disgracefully silent in the run-up to the election.

What were the bishops afraid of, losing their charitable tax status with the IRS, or being deprived of fat checks from the HHS (immigration programs) and USAID (foreign aid programs)?

Or, were they just too cowardly to clearly declare Christ's law to be above man's law and risk the ire of a Joe Biden as president?

Either way, the bishops’ lack of clarity in this regard is a terrible scandal in itself and probably greatly contributed to the possible election of a pro-abortion, anti-Catholic Catholic to the presidency.

Given the fact that exit polling shows Catholics split their vote 50-50 for Trump and Biden, even a slight deviation in the heavily-Catholic swing-states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could have produced different results.

The bishops could have spoken out against Biden’s pro-abortion stance collectively, but, again, they were overwhelmingly and shamefully silent.

Because of this, they will be at least partly responsible for the policies advanced by a Biden administration, in the event that Biden is sworn into office.

However, the bishops can, even now, mitigate the damage done by their inaction by taking the following steps: 1) Speak with one voice, as the USCCB, and plainly condemn Biden's pro-abortion stance; 2) Publicly advise Biden not to present himself for Holy Communion because of his scandalous position on abortion and homosexual "marriage;" and, 3) Tell Biden to publicly repent of publicly promoting the wilfull murder of the preborn, sins against nature, and diminishing the natural family.

Thankfully, some individual bishops have spoken out forcefully on Biden's scandalous behavior, and his standing in the Church.

On November 9, Archbishop Strickland of Tyler, Texas tweeted: “A dark cloud has descended on this nation when the USCCB and Planned Parenthood speak in unison in support of a Biden-Harris administration that supports the slaughter of innocents by abortion for all 9 months of pregnancy.”

Additionally, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, Colorado and Archbishop Charles Chaput have both declared publicly that Joe Biden “should not receive Holy Communion."

But, to add insult to injury, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. has said that he will give Holy Communion to Biden because “it’s a matter of the responsibility that I have as the archbishop to be engaged and to be in dialogue with him, even in those areas where we obviously have some differences.”

And, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware and Bishop McElroy of San Diego also congratulated Biden in statements, but they have not indicated whether or not they would administer Holy Communion to him.

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by dialoguing with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

A man who uses the church as a backdrop to make sickening political advertisements about how "Catholic/religious" he is, but, at the same time, says that he will do everything in his power to protect the murder of the innocent, needs to publicly repent before dialogue can begin.

The bishops should not dialogue with or congratulate someone who has publicly betrayed the Church's teaching and who is leading others astray.

It's an embarrassment and a scandal for the bishops to continue to allow him to receive Holy Communion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition today!




Cardinal Raymond Burke has stated that Democratic candidate Joe Biden should not receive Holy Communion because of his support for abortion.

In an interview for Thomas McKenna's Catholic Action for Faith and Family podcast, Cardinal Burke states the following (starting around 5:00):

First of all, I would tell him [Biden] not to approach to receive Holy Communion, out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege and endanger the salvation of his own soul.

But, also, he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone, because if someone says, 'I'm a devout Catholic," and, at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it's acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion.

Of course, it's absolutely not acceptable, and never has been, and never will be.

We give thanks for Cardinal Burke's frankness and clarity. And, we call on every U.S. Catholic bishop to follow Cardinal Burke's lead and call out Joe Biden for his bloody-minded hypocrisy on the issue of abortion.

To reiterate: You cannot be a Catholic and support abortion.

Thank you for continuing to sign this urgent petition.



The Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, keeps claiming to be Catholic but has said he will do everything in his power to support abortion.

And, with his pick of California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, Biden has just cemented abortion into the Democrats' 2020 presidential ticket.

Indeed, Harris is vehemently pro-abortion.

During her time as attorney general of California, Harris played a key role in defending Planned Parenthood over its sale of aborted baby parts (which violated multiple federal laws, according to undercover video of abortion industry personnel).

And, last year, Harris unveiled a plan to essentially force pro-life states to seek permission from the federal government before pro-life laws can take effect.

Additionally, Harris has dangerous views on religious liberty and freedom of speech.

Harris displayed anti-Catholic bigotry in the confirmation hearings of Judge Brian Buescher. Harris cited his membership in the “all-male society” the Knights of Columbus and its stances against abortion and same-sex “marriage” as grounds for rejecting Buescher for a federal district court in Nebraska.

And, David Daleiden, head of the pro-life investigative group Center for Medical Progress, wrote that from his firsthand experience, he considers Harris the “greatest threat to First Amendment civil rights our country has ever seen.”

Joe Biden has seriously erred by taking on Kamala Harris as his running mate, further distancing himself from the truths of the Catholic Faith, especially that every life is sacred from conception till natural death.

Please CLICK HERE to read an article which details one U.S. bishop's warning about the Biden-Harris ticket.

And, please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition.


Of course, these two things are incompatible: you cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion.

And, a "Catholic" politician's responsibility in this regard is absolute: On pain of serious sin, he or she can never promote abortion because abortion is the wilful murder of innocent preborn human beings, and also because doing so causes grave scandal to the Church and the faithful.

Please SIGN this urgent petition asking the bishops of the United States to refuse to give Holy Communion to Joe Biden until he publicly repents from his scandalous promotion of abortion.

Biden recently promised to “codify Roe v. Wade” as president, adding, "my Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate a woman’s protected, constitutional right to choose."

And, since starting his latest run for the presidency, Biden also flip-flopped against the Hyde Amendment, saying that he would allow federal funds to be spent on abortion - a position he claimed to be against for more than 40 years.

In short, Joe Biden will do everything in his power to enable and defend the wilful murder of innocent preborn human beings.

So, this should not be a hard decision for our U.S. bishops. In fact, in another circumstance, it was already done by an Illinois bishop.

Indeed, Bishop Paprocki, of Springfield, Illinois, invoked Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law to withdraw Holy Communion from two Illinois state politicians who had worked to enact radical new abortion legislation in 2019.

Canon 915 states: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

Of course, no-one, least of all the bishops, wants anyone to be deprived of Holy Communion.

A politician who publicly and obstinately advocates for the murder of innocent preborn babies puts himself out-of-communion with the Church and her teaching. 

Pro-abortion politicians should not think that they can advocate for the murder of the unborn and receive the Body of Christ at the same time. This would be to defile the Eucharist while giving scandal to the faithful.

Depriving politicians of Holy Communion is not just meant to prevent scandal; it is also designed to bring a grave public sinner to repentance. In this way, such an action is meant to be for the good of their souls, too.

Thank you for SIGNING this urgent petition which calls on the U.S. Catholic bishops to refuse to admit Joe Biden to Holy Communion until he publicly repents from his scandalous promotion of abortion.


Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ -

Catholic priest denies Joe Biden Holy Communion for pro-abortion stance -

Cardinal McCarrick and the Concealing of Rome’s Position on Denying Communion  -

**Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

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“And what John Turner did was wrong. Whether he was led to believe it was right or not, it was the wrong thing,” he added.

“And the fact that some people say you can separate your personal side from your public side is a total crock.”

Canadian Catholics are left with the legacy that some of their bishops and academics are implicated to an extent in the legalization of the killing of unborn children in Canada, which may have a bearing on the decisions bishops make today, Hughes pointed out.

And the laity will be further confused by Collins allowing Turner a “state funeral at St. Michael’s Cathedral, the bedrock of the faith in Toronto,” because they “trust the Church,” he said.

“The whole thing is a scandal on the part of the bishops of Canada,” he told LifeSiteNews.

 “And it’s a scandal on the part of Cardinal Collins.”

While his Catholic advisors and the acquiescence of the bishops likely played a role in Turner’s course of action, so did his political aspirations, suggested Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada.

“It was a bad, bad era in the sixties, and the Church was as faulty as anyone for not standing up,”  she told LifeSiteNews.

At the same time, Turner was “a very, very ambitious man … I think his ambition overcame his conscience, to put it mildly.”

The state funeral could have been held at Turner’s parish, Landolt noted. 

It was “understandable” that Collins allowed it at the Cathedral, “but I don’t know whether it really should be acceptable.”

What Turner did as minister of justice “led to the death of thousands and millions of babies.”

Turner praised at funeral for work on 1969 pro-abortion bill

During the funeral service, Trudeau praised Turner for “getting young people to invest in our democracy” and devoting a “great deal of his time to protecting the environment.”

If Trudeau did not explicitly mention the Omnibus Bill, the second eulogist, Richard Alway, did so in such a way that it appeared he regarded it as an accomplishment.

“And it was to John Turner, with his pragmatic, conciliatory style, and capacity for fostering relationships, that Pierre Trudeau as prime minister turned to deal with premiers in the run-up to the Victoria Charter on the Constitution, to shepherd the Omnibus Justice Bill through Parliament, and to sell official bilingualism to the Western premiers,” said Alway.

“He was, by any measure, a serious Christian and Catholic, ecumenical in outlook, who considered the priesthood well into his 20s,” added Alway, former president of the University of St. Michael’s College, and current president of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

“His own effort to reconcile a strong religious faith with public service in a secular and pluralistic society was a constant theme throughout his political career and family.”

Msgr. Samuel Bianco, also a friend of Turner’s, celebrated the Mass, and in his homily compared the former Liberal politician to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

“John Turner heard the call of Jesus and his grace, and he knew he had freedom and gifts, and he put them together to try to do the best he could to build a better community for Canada and the future,” said Bianco, now retired.

“Jesus did the same thing.”

Bianco quoted the book of Hebrews: “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts; harken to His voice.” 

Turner “heard that call of Jesus. Jesus himself heard it,” said Bianco.

“If you and I harken to the voice, the call of grace and of freedom, of worship and of service, we will build a community. We will build a better community. And we praise and thank God that John Turner used all his gifts to so do. May we do the same.”

The reception of Holy Communion was not televised; the cameras focused on the Cathedral’s interior, stained glass windows and exterior while two choir boys sang. Well-known Canadian tenor John McDermott also sang three hymns, accompanied by a guitarist during the two-hour event.

Born in the U.K., Turner served as Canada’s 17th  prime minister in 1984 for 11 weeks after winning the Liberal Party leadership when Trudeau retired as party leader. He is survived by his wife, Geills, their four children, and eight grandchildren. 

Due to coronavirus protocols, attendance at the funeral was limited to guests selected by the family. The approximately 160 masked and socially distant attendees included Toronto Mayor John Tory, writer Conrad Black, former Liberal minister Ralph Goodale, former governor general Daniel Johnston and other dignitaries.

State funerals are rare in Canada, according to the CBC, with only 31 held since Confederation in 1867, “including 12 for prime ministers, seven for governors general and eight for cabinet ministers.” 

To respectfully express your views, contact:

Cardinal Collins
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2
Phone:416-934-0606, ext. 609
Email: [email protected]

LifeSite’s Anthony Murdoch contributed to this report.


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