So what happened to Canadian Christianity, asks Dr. Noll, and for the next 39 pages of his book, he searches for the explanation -- searches among the explanations offered by Canadian historians and reaches a few conclusions of his own.
He examines two churches in particular -- the Catholic Church in Quebec and the United Church of Canada, both of which have suffered a catastrophic decline in membership. Though the churches are, of course, quite different, he discovered curiously similar explanations.
In Quebec, he finds an explanation in the rise of Catholic Action, a movement that gained great momentum after the Second World War and recruited platoons of talented young people -- like Pierre Trudeau, Marc Lalonde and Gerard Pelletier.
Its object was to supplant what had become the moribund Catholicism of historic Quebec with a new amalgam of democratic socialism and a reformed Catholic spirituality and practice.
Quebecers bought the first half of the proposition, but not the second, and people abandoned Christian practice en masse.
The United Church, created in the 1920s by the union of the Methodists, Congregationalists and most Presbyterians, sought to combine the socialistic reforms of the social gospel with the spiritual message of evangelicalism. This had much the same result. When the government itself legislated the social gospel, the church was left with no message at all.
But all this is an inadequate summation of a brief but very observant analysis of Canada's religious collapse.
This collapse of religion in english Canda has been met with a yawn. But in Quebec there is a movement to take a closer look at the Quiet revolutiuon.
English-speaking Canada was given further evidence last week that an extraordinary change is taking place in Quebec. A whole generation of young people seems to be discovering the "Quiet Revolution," conducted in the late 20th century by their elders, was in fact a fraud.
Its pretended aim was to preserve the language and culture of Quebec against the assimilating influence of the Anglo-American colossus that threatens it. What it was actually doing was instituting a secular socialist culture that had far more in common with, say, Sweden than anything in the history of Quebec, and would have been utterly abhorrent to the real Quebecois who founded and developed French Canada.
What would those strictly Catholic mothers and fathers of families with 12 or more children think if they could see their descendants wallowing in the highest abortion, divorce, single-parent and "shack-up" rate in the whole country? Making it worse, this has been done under the guise of preserving French Canada's cultural past.
In any event, the reality of this staggering hypocrisy is apparently dawning on the generation that is inheriting the sociological shambles their parents have left to them.
Will it ever dawn on English Canada that the high rates of abortion, divorce, single-parent families et al could be changed by a return to our historic cultural and religious roots. Does anyone even see it as being a problem!
In Quebec the most popular song at this time is
A folk-song group calling itself "Mes Aieux" (My Ancestors) had produced what was voted the most popular song in Quebec. It's called Degenerations, which means "degeneration," an apt description of what has been happening in that province.
The words of the song leave no doubt about its message.
They recall and extol the old Quebecois, who courageously broke the land and founded French Canada. The song likewise deplores their descendants who gave it all away and became bureaucrats. Where your great, great grandmother had 14 children, says the song, "your mom didn't want any, you were an accident." Much of it chronicles the woes of women who have abortions.
I find it extraordinary that Quebec can even have this debate. In English Canada this type of thing would be crushed in the media. Some of us may disagree with the CPC motion recognizing Quebec as a nation, but if they can have this debate I think it does show them as distinct, by the fact that they can look to their shared history and see something better.
I find it encouraging that the rise of the ADQ is wrapped up in all this as they are reflective of the past conservative Quebecois movements. It may hold hope that the CPC will offer more receptive government to such a movement in English Canada.
And if Quebec does go Conservative and helps secure CPC majority governments there may be a change to our entire Canadian Culture. A change for the better.
Joined: 03 May 2007
Location: Edmonton-Strathcona or Medicine Hat
Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:17 pm Post subject:
I always thought that Quebec had a pretty large conservative streak both socially (which comprises their Catholic nature) and fiscally. It was just that the referendum of 1995 the government was liberal and since then they thought the liberals to be the only party to keep them in Confederation.
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