History of Canadian Catholics

History of Canadian Catholics

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 392
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  • Book Info
    History of Canadian Catholics
    Book Description:

    In A History of Canadian Catholics Terence Fay relates the long story of the Catholic Church and its followers, beginning with how the church and its adherents came to Canada, how the church established itself, and how Catholic spirituality played a part in shaping Canadian society. He also describes how recent social forces have influenced the church.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6988-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-2)

    Formal Christianity has existed in North America for four hundred years. Some Amerindians explain that Christ was known among the native people in their own terms centuries before the Europeans arrived.¹ Christianity over four centuries has played a major role in shaping both Euro-Canadians and Amerindians in North America. From the first meeting in Canada between the Amerindians and the French Catholics, Christians have been present in most of the settlements of both the native people and the French colonists. Gallicanism (French spirituality), Romanism (Roman spirituality), and Canadianism (the indigenization of Catholic spirituality in the Canadian lifestyle) emerged through the...


    • 1 Missionary Origins of the Catholic Church in Canada
      (pp. 5-28)

      Catholic Christianity was first brought to North America when the Spanish Dominicans and Franciscans settled in Mexico in the early sixteenth century. The friars, and soon their Jesuit colleagues, then carried the Christian faith into the areas now called New Mexico and southern California. At the opposite end of the North American continent, in Nova Scotia and along the north shore of the St Lawrence River, French Jesuits and Franciscan Recollets in the early decades of the seventeenth century participated in the establishment of Christian settlements.

      Chaplains aboard the fishing vessels off the North American coast were the first missionaries...

    • 2 The Chruch after the Conqest
      (pp. 29-47)

      Resplendent in their red uniforms, the British forces rejoiced in victory and took up their places in the streets of Quebec and Montreal to the beat of the drums and the squeal of the pipes. With heads bowed the blue-and-white forces of France boarded naval vessels and sailed silently back to France. But the French-speaking inhabitants remained stolidly behind to face the British conqueror and, as French Catholics, felt helpless before the overwhelming power of English Protestants. Since the Reformation, the penal laws in England condemned Catholics and Catholic practices and terrorized them by hanging, drawing, and quartering their leaders.¹...

    • 3 Maritime and Central Canadian Catholicism
      (pp. 48-66)

      The Quebec church, which survived the rigours of seventeenth-century missions, the oppression of the Conquest, and the threat of the British-American war, continued by its muscular Gallican spirituality to stir the seat of deeply rooted Canadien Catholicism. A new challenge from the East now threatened Gallic control of the Catholic church in British North America. Landing on the beaches to the east of Lower Canada were the Scots and the Irish. The Irish arrived in the middle of the eighteenth century as summer workers for the Newfoundland fishery and, after some decades, began to settle there permanently. Some of the...


    • 4 Ultramontane Catholicism
      (pp. 69-96)

      The origin of ultramontane spirituality can be found in seventeenthcentury France. Religious orders such as the Jesuits and the Dominicans opposed the four Gallican articles upgrading French autonomy and episcopal powers and downgrading Roman primacy and political leadership. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, after the devastation wrought on Catholicism by the French Revolution, neoultramontanes encouraged loyalty to the spiritual and political leadership of the Holy See as the best way to reconstruct Catholic life, worship, and culture. Catholics in France and other European countries sought a new spirituality beyond the rationalism of the French Enlightenment. Like an Old...

    • 5 Ultramontanes and Catholic Schools
      (pp. 97-119)

      Education in the Maritime provinces and central Canada became the symbol for Catholics of the spiritual struggle waged between the religious and secular worlds. Educational institutions formed young Catholics for competition in the marketplace, but more importantly, they moulded future leaders in Roman devotions, spirituality, and loyalty. The religious sisters in the Maritimes and central Canada built primary and secondary schools to offer Catholics basic education and promote Christian knowledge, and diocesan communities constructed similar institutions to provide university education and skilled professional workers. To further these educational goals, Catholics prepared themselves to support Confederation in the hope of getting...

    • 6 Chruch, Politics, and a New Canada
      (pp. 120-135)

      Confederation did not resolve the school issue, but it provoked Catholics to press more resolutely for separate schools in a Protestant state. Faced with rapid population increases, church people in Quebec and Ontario worked for the extension of their Catholic schools, but controversies erupting in New Brunswick and Manitoba over schools punctured Catholic hopes for federal intervention to save their schools. As a result, considerable planning was needed to maintain and expand the Catholic educational system to keep pace with the growing population.

      After the forced union of 1841, the two central Canadian provinces fell into a political and economic...

    • 7 Chruch and Society
      (pp. 136-152)

      The wars of religion in Europe were long over, and the political and economic barriers between Christian denominations were coming down. The legal framework employed by the British government for the repression of Catholic minorities remained in place. From the time of British supremacy in North America starting with the Conquest in 1763 until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, government suppression of Catholics continued from Newfoundland through to Ontario. When the legal barriers disappeared in the nineteenth century, voluntary fulminations of religious anti-Catholicism replaced them for one hundred years. English cultural imperialism in the twentieth century replaced religious condemnation...


    • 8 Two Messianic Groups in Conflict
      (pp. 155-175)

      At the end of the nineteenth century there was a flood of immigrants to Canada. In addition to the country’s native peoples, French, Scottish, and Irish habitants who were already well established across Canada were joined by Germans, Ukrainians, Polish, and American Catholics. They settled in northern Ontario, the Prairies, and the West Coast. During the same years Maritimers and Ontarians boarded railway carriages in the East to hurry over the freshly laid steel rails to the west. While English- and French-speaking Canadians skirmished with each other for control of the Maritime and central Canadian church, new Canadians, as we...

    • 9 Learning Respect in the Canadian West
      (pp. 176-197)

      Linguistic differences, institutional needs, and world wars shaped the formation of Catholic dioceses in eastern and central Canada. But in western Canada, different ethnic communities formed into separate dioceses. Red River colony, or Winnipeg, became the seedbed of three archdioceses, French, English, and Ukrainian speaking. The French-speaking diocese of St Boniface was established in 1820, and twenty-six years later the diocese of Victoria prepared the foundation for the church on the Pacific Coast. Catholics arriving in the Prairie provinces from the Ukraine at the end of the century formed Canada’s first diocese for Eastern Christians. The western settlers, now reinforced...

    • 10 Catholic Responses to the Depression
      (pp. 198-220)

      The New York stockmarket crashed on Black Thursday, 24 October 1929, and the dollar, gold, and sterling blocks went into an economic tailspin. Corporations failed, workers were laid off, national economies collapsed, and a trade depression descended upon the world. Many business people lost their fortunes. Some entrepreneurs threw themselves from office towers to their deaths, while others endured impoverishment in forced retirement at home, humbly renewing their personal and family lives. Social networks in most nations hardly existed, and the working and middle classes in most countries suffered greatly and endured the hardship in national and personal isolation.


    • 11 Catholics Caught between Communism and Fascism
      (pp. 221-239)

      Catholics during the depression were forced to go beyond the theory of papal teachings and seek out Canadian solutions to economic and social problems. Clergy and laity implemented adult education and the cooperative movement in the Maritimes and sought a new social order in Quebec and social justice in Ontario. On the Prairies some looked to the CCF for political leadership and social reforms. Yet from Rome came the clear message to Canadian Catholics to condemn communism as the most destructive force in society. The Roman church painfully endured fascism but determined that it was the less noxious of the...

    • 12 Quebecization of Catholicism
      (pp. 240-255)

      The bifurcation of the Canadian church widened during the First World War and continued through the depression and the Second World War. French-speaking Catholics were threatened by the war, conscription, and the expansion of federal power. English-speaking Catholics, travelling in the opposite direction, rallied fully behind the federal government in the war effort and committed their resources to the policy of mobilization. The Canadian church with great difficulty managed to steer a middle course between support for voluntary recruitment and the flat-out support for total war.¹ Church leaders straddled the different feelings of ethnic Catholics - French, English, Irish, German,...

    • 13 The Canadianization of Catholicism
      (pp. 256-277)

      English-speaking Catholics in the postwar period continued to say their prayers and sing their songs at Sunday Mass, yet the demand for change was evident throughout Canada and especially in Quebec. Canadian religious congregations and laity continued to construct Catholic institutions across Canada by building new schools and hospitals. The Sisters of St Martha (CSM), for instance, expanded their caring ministries at Antigonish to include a variety of professional activities, and the Catholic Women's League (CWL) opened houses across Canada to look after newly arrived immigrant women. The bishops formed an episcopal conference based in Ottawa to adapt church institutions...

    • 14 The Second Vatican Council and Its Challenge
      (pp. 278-302)

      Angelo Roncalli, besides having been a parish priest and seminary professor, was the national director for the Italian overseas missions and for twenty-seven years a papal diplomat working during the interwar period and the Second World War in Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece, and after the war in France. Sometimes dressed in tie and business suit, and sometimes vested in the episcopal soutane with its purple piping, Roncalli carried on the diplomacy of the Holy See and was exposed to the division between eastern and western Christianity. He listened to the voices of Muslims, French Republicans, and world diplomats. He helped...

    • 15 Contemporary Dynamics
      (pp. 303-324)

      Early in the twentieth century the Canadian Catholic church became greatly involved in the social issues and the labour questions facing parishioners. Catholic trade unions were organized, adult education initiated, and cooperatives launched. As prosperity returned during and after the Second World War, world missions linked Canadians with the economic and social problems of other nations and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace was established to offer assistance. The Canadian bishops raised questions on economic justice in Canada, development in the North, and restoration of world solidarity. In dealing with social justice, Catholics discovered the need to coordinate...

    • Epilogue
      (pp. 325-332)

      The overarching themes explored in this volume were Gallicanism, focusing on missions and diplomacy; Romanism, examining structural growth and ultramontane spirituality; and Canadianism, reviewing multicultural cooperation, social justice, interfaith sharing, women issues, and native Catholicism. Other themes might have-been developed, but in this brief history of Canadian Catholics, it seemed more apropos to deal with the principal themes and leave the rest for other studies.

      Gallican Catholicism in Canada entrenched seventeenth-century missionary roots, and Catholics since that time have continued to exercise missionary activity to the present day. French spirituality in the challenging environment of Canada inspired, among others, Jean...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 333-372)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 373-390)
  10. Index
    (pp. 391-400)