Churches and Social Order in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Canada

Churches and Social Order in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Canada

Michael Gauvreau
Ollivier Hubert
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Churches and Social Order in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Canada
    Book Description:

    By examinng education, charity, community discipline, the relationship between clergy and congregations, and working-class religion, the contributors shift the field of religious history into the realm of the socio-cultural. This novel perspective reveals that the Christian churches remained dynamic and popular in English and French Canada, as well as among immigrants, well into the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7600-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Beyond Church History: Recent Developments in the History of Religion in Canada
    (pp. 3-45)

    “Monseigneur l’Évêque,” declared the prominent Montreal Catholic layman George Edward Clerk in 1849, “preached an excellent sermon on the authority of the church.”¹ Bishop Ignace Bourget’s message insisted that Catholicism’s claim to superiority over Protestantism’s confusing welter of sects was founded upon a doctrinal and ritual integrity that had survived unaltered from a remote antiquity. However, Clerk’s Catholic and Protestant contemporaries would have experienced the impact of the institutional church not simply through the oral medium of preaching, by which doctrinal imperatives were relayed to the audience, but through several overlapping systems of authority: church ritual and ceremonial, voluntary societies...

  5. 1 The Emergence of a Statistical Approach to Social Issues in Administrative Practices of the Catholic Church in the Province of Quebec
    (pp. 46-65)

    This essay is informed by Bruce Curtis’s work¹ on the organization of Canadian censuses in the nineteenth century. Our consideration starts from the following premise: the annual reports of parish priests are to religious history and the history of the Church as it existed in the province of Quebec for thirty years what the censuses are to social-economic history and the history of the state. That is to say, they are key, if not basic, material from which it is possible to extract data susceptible to serial treatment, both diachronically and synchronously. From this point we go on to suggest...

  6. 2 Carnal Connection and Other Misdemeanours: Continuity and Change in Presbyterian Church Courts, 1830–90
    (pp. 66-108)

    First and foremost, this article concerns itself with the pace and manner in which customary social practices both resisted and advanced the transition to a capitalist, liberal social order. To do so, I have explicitly taken the institutional church – in this case the Presbyterian Church – as a barometer of cultural change with which one can trace fundamental changes in the value systems of ordinary people and elites, which in turn denote deeper social transformations occurring during the nineteenth century.¹ Whereas it is more usual for historians to examine the emergence of the capitalist order through analyses of labour relations and...

  7. 3 Evangelicals, Church Finance, and Wealth-Holding in Mid-Nineteenth-Century St Stephen, New Brunswick, and Calais, Maine
    (pp. 109-150)

    In December 1849, women from a Congregationalist church serving both St Stephen, New Brunswick, and Calais, Maine, organized an evening hotel supper to raise funds for church improvement. Their advertisement invited “the ladies and gentlemen of the community generally” at a price of fifty cents, almost two thirds the average wage of $1.25 reported for a daylabourer in the 1850 census. In response, a local newspaper endorsed a “rebuke” of this type of fundraising by a contributor who described the ideal church as a place where “The poor may go ... and not run against the arrogance of wealth. The...

  8. 4 Finishing Badly: Religion, Authority, and Clergy in Late-Victorian London, Ontario
    (pp. 151-174)

    This paper explores the contours of the religious authority of the Protestant clergy in the late nineteenth century. This exploration will proceed by way of three stories of failure. Historians have been criticized for privileging the winners in history, but it is not primarily to redress any perceived imbalance that these stories of failure are offered. What is of interest are the conflicts and fractures of power as three clergymen and the various parties arrayed against them marshal the past and the future, and lay expectations and clergy prerogatives, to negotiate the advances and retractions of their authority. In the...

  9. 5 Developing Christians, Catholics, and Citizens: Quebec Churches and School Religion from the Turn of the Twentieth Century to 1960
    (pp. 175-194)

    Three institutions had long been the basis of education: family, church, and school. In the nineteenth century, the school became increasingly statecoordinated and centralized. Faced with the need to develop a mode of instruction that would allow individuals to enlarge their ability to participate in social progress, Western societies placed a greater confidence in the school than in the family to instruct and even to raise children. It was felt that families lacked the necessary training or were too busy to do the job properly. As a result of this redirection of responsibility over what was taught, the Churches feared...

  10. 6 The Saint Vincent de Paul Society and the Catholic Charitable System in Quebec (1846–1921)
    (pp. 195-224)

    Regardless of the era in which we examine its activity, the Catholic Church has always played an important role by providing assistance and, more broadly, by assuming responsibility for those social problems that strain the community of the faithful. Taking care of the poor and the ailing was, after all, part and parcel of the business of an institution that was supposed to guide its flock past earthly evil toward ultimate salvation. Providing help and assistance would thus seem consubstantial with the established faith in a kind of achrony in which Church time merges with that of the perpetual misfortunes...

  11. 7 Factories and Foreigners: Church Life in Working-Class Neighbourhoods in Hamilton and Montreal, 1890–1930
    (pp. 225-273)

    Just before Christmas 1896, the Board of Trustees of Montreal’s Point St Charles Congregational Church, located in an expanding neighbourhood near the Grand Trunk Railway shops, was rocked by conflict. A church with a predominantly working-class membership, Point St Charles’s lay management comprised nine members, three of whom were middle class (a lawyer, a manager of a paper warehouse, and a miller) and six from the working class (a driver, a steamfitter, two storemen, a railway fireman, and a general weighman, the latter four all employed by the Grand Trunk Railway). One board member, Mr Cushing, the middle-class founder of...

  12. 8 The Churches and Immigrant Integration in Toronto, 1947–65
    (pp. 274-291)

    The role played by the Churches and in particular local places of worship in the integration of immigrants in Canada has not attracted much academic interest. The pioneering works on immigration influenced by the new social history represented integration as an essentially socioeconomic process in which immigrants as protagonists used their own networks to secure such immediate needs as housing and employment.¹ In studies in which integration was instead defined in cultural terms, the receiving society became the prime agent of acculturation, imposing its language, behaviour, and values on newcomers. In this instance the focus was largely on the school...

  13. 9 Governance of the Catholic Church in Quebec: An Expression of the Distinct Society?
    (pp. 292-314)

    Being interested in the future of post-Council Catholicism in Quebec, I was drawn to look at different aspects of Catholic modernization¹ – in particular governance structures at the diocesan level – and, as I centre this research on the concept of “reception,” understood not just as the impact of Vatican II on Quebec, but rather as the assimilation and appropriation of its teachings in a given culture and society, I was led to situate the modernization of Church forms, institutions, and modes of governance within the social history of Quebec and, in this instance, within the framework of the Quiet Revolution.


  14. About the Authors
    (pp. 315-316)