For 11 weeks bodies have not been buried at Montreal’s Notre Dame des Neiges Catholic cemetery.  Instead they are stored  in an on-site freezer because the cemetery’s workers have been locked out in a labour dispute.

    Representatives of 500 Catholic families plan to march next week on Cardinal Turcotte’s offices to pressure him into getting involved in the dispute.  Under provincial law, Turcotte has authority « to ensure the maintenance of decency and good order » in Catholic cemeteries in Montreal and Laval. 

       The Cardinal agrees that « the law confers a certain number of powers to the bishop. »  But he also says that the cemetery is actually under the administration and management of the Sulpician Order which bought all of Montreal Island in 1663.

      This sounds like a technicality to me.  One of the grieving persons whose grandmother has been in the fridge since the lockout began on May 6, accuses the Cardinal of « washing his hands of his responsibilities. »

     Do you think the Cardinal should get involved to help settle this dispute?

     I do.   



  1. 1
    Barbara Says:

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but Sulpicians are under the jurisdiction of the Bishop. If you believe in hierarchy — and I know Msgr Turcotte does! — then he should exert whatever pressure he can. Burying the dead (not storing them in freezers) is a work of mercy. It is scandalous that the cemetery authorities have let this drag on so long. Negotiations mean that each side gives a little and one meets in the middle.
    Hey, this is where the Christian rubber meets the road!

  2. 2
    Jason Piercy Says:

    Is this the fault of the Cardinal or that of the Labor Union who could use other tactics. They could bury only on Monday, or whatever. Both parties seem to be a fault to me.

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    It is not the fault of the Cardinal, but he could be instrumental in resolving the issue. It seems an eminently Christian thing to do to bring disputing parties to a fair resolution and to bury the dead. The folks who run the cemetery have locked out the workers, so there is no possibility of even a Monday burial day.

  4. 4
    jim Says:

    I think we should have a big roast and after the strike is over pour the ashes onto the graves.Jim

  5. 5
    bernie12 Says:

    Yes , I agree that the Cardinal should get involved in this . I don’t have the facts on the merit of the strke . It may well be a just one . However , it is such a basic duty of people to bury their dead that arbitration should be mandatory to resolve this kind of labor dispute .

  6. 6

    I hope the church does the responsible thing. It is a true test of character that the church officials fulfil promises and obligations to those who can no longer speak for or tend to themselves.

  7. 7

    Eleanor – word today that the two sides are getting closer. Perhaps the Cardinal helped to push reconciliation along.

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