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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
From I Was a Priest, 1949
No French-Canadian is prouder than we are of our French blood and of the large contribution
our compatriots have made in the shaping of our Canadian nation. However, we cannot
believe that we are a traitor to our race and to our national traditions, if we point
out to fellow-Canadians what has handicapped our people in their endeavours to attain
a normal national standing with the other major national elements of our democratic
French-Canadians, we may just as well admit it, are not up to the expected standing
of their English-speaking neighbours in the fields of finance, science, engineering
and cognate sciences. No doubt French-Canadians have intelligence and national opportunity
on the same level as English-speaking Canadians, yet they cannot compete with them.
A French-Canadian's industry and hospitality is known the world over and his attachment
to his native soil is proverbial. His inferiority in certain spheres is certainly
not due to his blood and language.
What is it, then, that places our compatriots in such a disadvantageous position?
To our mind, it is the system of education that causes this handicap. Before we study
the education dispensed to French-Canadians in the colleges and seminaries of Quebec,
let us examine our national conscience and see what is wrong.
We find that two great races strive to live in harmony with different national and
religious ambitions under identical democratic principles. This would be possible
only under an identical system of national education. The crucial fact is that in
Canada there are two entirely diametrically opposed systems of education and therefore
national unity cannot be achieved. In Quebec, where most French-Canadians are educated,
institutions consecrated to national education are all under the control of the Church
The professors are all priests or nuns. The curriculum of studies is concentrated
on subjects such as Latin, Greek, Roman and Church History and Apologetics, to the
exclusion of a more practical education. These studies might be useful to a future
priest but are entirely useless to a French-Canadian who wishes to attain a normal
national training in science, engineering and other similar subjects which will allow
him to take his place alongside his English-speaking friends.
There are very few nations left today that entrust the national education of their
youth to a mere religious denomination. The French-Canadian system has been imported
from France, but democratic France has long ago given up that antiquated Church system
of education, while Quebec still clings to it desperately.
It is a system that trains youth to think as the Church does and not necessarily
in accordance with modern science and national exigency.
Science, in a Roman system of education, is approached in a different manner than
in a free institution of learning. Rome has always impressed professors and students
with a false sense of their intellectual weakness and with the constant possibility
of making wrong judgments unless the minds and wills are submitted to the infallible
authority of the Pope.
National unity cannot be achieved in Canada until Quebec is willing to improve or
alter its antiquated educational system, which produces ill effects not only in the
field of national good understanding and cooperation, but in the very students who
labour under such a handicap. Some efforts have been made by outstanding French-Canadians
to impress upon those in authority the need to improve or to change this old Roman
system. The Apostles of Progress have been immediately excommunicated by Rome or
have fallen into disgrace in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy in Quebec.
The great statesman, Papineau, was excommunicated for advancing the idea of a better
and more progressive system of education in Quebec, while in recent years the courageous
Senator Bouchard and the brilliant writer, Jean-Charles Harvey, were classed by Roman
priests as anti-clerical and anti-French-Canadian for their efforts to create in
the minds of French-Canadians some thoughts of progress and unity in the field of
It is not an easy task for French-Canadians to improve their system of education in Quebec when the very suggestion of improvement entails the condemnation of their souls to eternal perdition by an all-powerful Church. The only alternative would be for French-Canadians to take the matter into their own hands and create the system of education according to their needs and wishes, without submitting to the foreign authority of Rome.
This will have to be done as it was done in France and in many other countries where
Rome had subjugated minds and souls for many centuries. The modern mind is, fortunately,
more independent and more progressive. Quebec must have its turn if French-Canadians
are called to progress and live in line and harmony with the rest of Canadians.
The present Quebec system of education is the very same that once condemned the genius
minds who in the past, dared to rise higher than the feet of the Pope:
(a) Galileo was sent to a dungeon for advancing the theory that the earth revolves
around the sun. The Church put a stop to Galileo's scientific investigations, but
the learned man was right.
(b) Copernicus was excommunicated from the Church of Rome for scientific discoveries
which later proved to be true.
(c) The French priest Lamenais was condemned by his Church because he preached liberty
(d) The French-Canadian statesman Papineau was excommunicated because he advanced
the theory that the Quebec system of education was inadequate and antiquated.
(e) The French-Canadian priest, Father Chiniquy, in his book, “FIFTY YEARS IN THE
CHURCH OF ROME”, wrote the following:
Papineau studied under the priests of Rome in their colleges at Montreal. From his earliest years that Eagle of Canada could see and know the priests of Rome as they are; he has weighed them in the balance; he has measured them; he has fathomed the dark recesses of their anti-social principles; he has felt his shoulders wounded and bleeding under the ignominious chains with which they dragged our dear Canada in the mire for nearly two centuries.
But the echoes of Canada are still repeating the thundering words with which Papineau denounced the priests as the most deadly enemies of education and liberty in Canada. He was one of the first men of Canada to understand that there was no progress, no liberty possible for our beloved country so long as the priests have the education of our people in their hands. The whole life of Papineau was a struggle to wrest Canada from their grasp.
Today Quebec is just as far removed from a beneficial change in its system of education
as it was a century ago at the time of Papineau. The situation is somewhat more desperate.
The priests of Rome have even a stronger hold on the education of the French-Canadians.
They have succeeded in planting in the minds of many French-Canadians, especially
during the past twenty years, a separatism education which calls for separating Quebec
from confederation. This new idea is a direct result of Roman education in Quebec.
It has not sprung from the minds of Quebecers by chance. It was a well-planned policy
of Rome. The whole idea is to prepare Quebec, which would be called Laurentia under
this plan, for a possible future papal State for the Pope. We have often heard Bishops
and priests in intimate conversations, while we were a priest, speaking freely of
this hope to make Quebec the residence of the Pope should he be obliged to leave
Rome some day.
The Pope is a temporal ruler as well as a religious leader and his authority and
prestige need some territory in which he can rule. Quebec is the most Roman-minded
region in the world today and it has been selected by the Pope for a possible residence.
Some readers might think that this statement is far-fetched and a product of our
imagination. Perhaps some remember the interview the Archbishop of Quebec gave journalists
in March 1948, when an Italian general election was imminent and possibilities were
that the Pope’s presence would have become impossible should the Communist party
capture power. The Toronto Star, dated March 25, 1948, published that interview.
The Archbishop of Quebec, Most Rev. Maurice Roy declared that Quebec was willing
and prepared to receive the Pope.
Roman Catholic Bishops do not make such public declarations on the Pope unless the
Pope has himself approved of them.
This plan of making Quebec a papal state is so well advanced that Roman authorities have even believed that the time had come to elect a French-Canadian Pope so that his capture of Quebec territory would be much easier than that of an Italian Pope, through diplomatic pressure. At the death of Pope Pius XI, the Cardinals who elect the Pope, thought that the time had come to elect Cardinal Villeneuve as Pope.
In fact, he had well prepared the minds of Canadians on this idea of Separatism and
a Papal State for the Pope in the new Laurentia. Too many Italian Cardinals, however,
failed to rally to this change of Roman tradition, and refused to give their votes
to a foreign Cardinal. However, the present Pope obtained thirty-three votes on the
first ballot and Cardinal Villeneuve got as many as twenty-five votes. Never in the
history of modern Romanism had a foreign Cardinal obtained so many votes for the
The figures quoted above are those of a French-Canadian Roman Catholic paper edited
by the Oblate Fathers, the same Order of which Cardinal Villeneuve was a member,
La Liberté et le Patriote, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in its issue dated January 23,
We do not object in our free and democratic Canada that the religious Head of a Church
should make his residence in Quebec or in any other part of Canada, but in this case
it involves the loss of a Canadian Province to Confederation and to the British Empire.
It means the breaking up of our beloved country for the benefit of a foreign ruler.
There is food for thought in this menace for every patriotic Canadian to study carefully
and to act accordingly.
The education of French-Canadians which has prepared their minds to accept separatism
is not only dispensed by priests but also in Quebec colleges and youth organizations
in that Province.
The Roman Catholic Hierarchy has in its control several newspapers which directly
and openly publish articles in favour of a separate state in Quebec.
Le Devoir is one of the Roman Catholic daily newspapers published in Montreal. Its
policies are inspired by the Hierarchy. This daily is said to be the newspaper “par
excellence” of the French-Canadian intellectuals. The Roman Church, in Quebec, has
educated the last two generations of French-Canadians in national spheres through
the medium of this newspaper.
Le Devoir was from the very beginning, ultra nationalist and anti-British. Today
it preaches the doctrines of Separatism, that is, the idea of making Quebec a separate
and independent state which would eventually become a papal state. The following
is a sample of Le Devoir’s national educational campaign which it dispenses to educated
French-Canadians in the name of the Roman Church:
“As long as Canada has the same king as Great Britain, as long as any British subject
whatever can from one day to another call himself a Canadian citizen and install
himself comfortably in any position of high administration, as long as a foreigner
goes to Ottawa to take the symbol of authority in the name of a foreign monarch,
Canada will be trailed along behind Great Britain to serve Imperial interests.
“Canadians will be found, even French-Canadians, who by means of a bit of ribbon
like the M.B.E. or the C.B.E. or other stupidities of the same nature, will be ready
to declare themselves satisfied with their state of servitude. The only practical
way for Canada to become independent is to declare a republic. We are republican
because we know that the only practical way for Canada to release herself from tutelage
of London is to break the bonds which attach her to the British crown... Le Devoir
will favour, therefore, with all its strength, the man, the movements and the parties
which pronounce themselves squarely for the Canadian Republic and which make it the
object of their labours.
“There is no need of declaring that we intend to respect order and legality. The
independence of Canada will be realized when the majority of Canadians wish it. Canadians
will wish it when they understand the benefits to be drawn from it. It is a question
then of a vast educational campaign to which we intend to give ourselves without
ceasing.” (Translation by the “Gospel Witness”, Toronto, Ont.)
Some Canadians cannot understand why so many educated French-Canadians believe such
anti-Canadian and anti-British ideas. The reason, in a nutshell, is that French-Canadian
minds have received the same social and national education as the Roman priests have
in Quebec colleges and seminaries. They have been taught to be auxiliaries and co-adjutors
The following article from Le Devoir will show how French-Canadians laymen are educated
by priests in seminaries where Roman priests are trained to become preachers of Separatism
and of the doctrine of the Papal State in Quebec–the new “Laurentia”:
“No one can contest the Church’s right to have houses for training priests. Now,
our institutions of secondary education, with rare exceptions, have all been founded
with a view to recruiting priests. It is only by toleration, so to speak, that they
receive students who are not destined for the priesthood. This co-education of future
priests with the young men who will form the elite of the nation may be a source
of trouble in certain respects, but, notwithstanding, it presents so many advantages
that the Church would doubtless hesitate a long time before making a segregation.
The friendships which are formed at college last throughout life and are as valuable
to priests as they are to the laymen.”
The result of this co-education of future priests with young men who will form the
elite of French-Canadian laymen is interesting in many more ways than Le Devoir cares
to admit. Of course it will forge many French-Canadian minds in such a shape that
they will become fanatically pro-Roman and anti-British. They will be prepared to
give up their Canadian heritage in favour of a “Papal Laurentia” in Quebec. They
become, at any rate, extreme nationalists and very reluctant to co-operate with the
English-speaking majority in Canada.
Others, however, will react very differently to this co-education with priests or
future priests. Many young intelligent French-Canadians who have seen Romanism at
close range in Quebec seminaries, understand that this system of educating French-Canadian
laymen is not only antiquated, but is anti-Canadian and anti-Christian. These men
are not deceived by the idea of Separatism, nor do they feel that they should accept
all doctrines of the Hierarchy concerning education and national ideals as “Gospel
We have mentioned the names of the courageous Senator Bouchard and the brilliant
journalist Jean-Charles Harvey. They are but a few of the many educated French-Canadians
today who were not duped by the education of Rome which has kept French-Canada apart
from the rest of the Dominion for many years.
This co-education has not always produced the effects which Rome desired even in
the field of religion.
The most outstanding French-Canadian critics or Romanism in Quebec are former students
of priests in Quebec seminaries. In a city like Montreal, for instance, the so-called
“anti-clericals” are mostly found amongst doctors, lawyers, journalists and business
men who are the former pupils of Roman Catholic colleges and seminaries.
The French-Canadians in Quebec, who are both ardent Roman Catholics and anti-Separatists,
are mostly those who never saw the inside of a Quebec-priest-controlled institution
of superior education.
We shall conclude this chapter by mentioning one more aspect of the stupidity of
the education dispensed to French-Canadians by Romanism in Canada. It concerns the
French-Canadians are impressed with the idea that the French language is the safeguard
of their religious beliefs and that they should promote it even at the expense of
their knowledge of English or of any other social, financial or national advantages.
French has become not a language, but a religion. The humble author of this book
has just as much pride in his knowledge of French as any Quebec Bishop has. He loves
his mother tongue and expects to speak it. We can love our native language and yet
not necessarily use it for the propagation of a religious system which we have found
to be false and contrary to our ideals of Christianity.
Roman priests teach that English-Canadians are anti-French and strive to segregate
the two great Canadian races to foster Romanism by playing on the language feelings
of French-Canadians. The fact is that English-speaking Canadians are not opposed
to French as a language. They teach it in their high schools and universities. French
is used alongside English on our Canadian money, stamps, postal money orders and
English-speaking Protestant Canadians, however, cannot be blamed if they object that
French is driven down their throats when they know so well it is not the French language
which is forced upon them, but really Romanism. As long as the French language is
so married to the Roman Church in Canada, the French question will be alive in Canada.
English-speaking Canadians are, therefore, not any more “fanatical” when they object
to French than the French-Canadians are when they object to Protestantism.
It is false to believe, as some French-Canadians do, that the English language in
Canada is to Protestantism what the French language is to Roman Catholicism. English
in Canada is not the sole medium of speech of a religious denomination. It is the
language of the masses; of business, financial and international communication. If
the English language in itself were the medium of the propagation of Protestantism
in Canada, we would not witness the struggle of English-speaking Canadian Roman Bishops
to supplement French-Canadian Roman Bishops in certain dioceses and take so many
pains to advance the policy at the Vatican of a stronger English-speaking Roman Hierarchy
If it is true that the sole knowledge of the French language has saved many French-Canadians
to Romanism, it is also a fact that many French-Canadians have not qualified for
important positions on account of their lack of knowledge of the English language.
Rome has saved them to Roman superstitions but at the price of their social, financial
and national welfare.
In Quebec, however, the situation is somewhat reversed. The lack of knowledge of
either French of English is not a serious handicap to business. We know and Irish
Roman Catholic who has a store in Quebec City and does well, although he cannot understand
nor speak French, but he is a Roman Catholic.
A French-Canadian Protestant who could speak French fluently, would starve from lack of business. The Protestant religion is the handicap, not the lack of a language, in priest-ridden Quebec.
After we left the priesthood we intended to apply for a certain position at Ottawa with the Canadian Government. Some vacancies were offered to French-Canadians who could qualify. We were told, however, that our application could not be considered until it was recommended by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.
In Montreal, we interviewed a French-Canadian member of the Chamber who politely
told us that since we had become Protestants, we were no longer representative of
the French-Canadians and could not be recommended to a position where vacancies were
offered to pure and orthodox French-Canadians only.
Our three centuries of French blood in our native Canada had vanished in the eyes
of the Roman-educated representative of the Quebec Hierarchy, because we had become
convinced that Romanism was not Christianity and we had embraced Protestantism.
Our readers might now have an idea of the education dispensed to French-Canadians by Rome, the mother of intolerance and the instigator of Canadian national disunity.