French Canadian Catholic Identity

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“French Canada: the rise and decline of a ‘church-nation’” by Sylvie Lacombe covers the influence the Canadian Catholic Church had on French-Canadians from the early nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. It explores how the failed Upper Canada rebellions led to British parliamentary control over the French via the Act of Union in 1840. This enabled the Catholic Church to take over several provincial social institutions which came to influence nationalistic ideas and values. Thus, many French-Canadians believed themselves to be part of a “church-state”. However, Irish Catholic immigration, new Anglo-Saxon imperialistic ideologies and the loss of French-speaking schools in the provinces weakened the French Catholics’ position in the rest of Canada. Eventually, the church’s support of both world wars, coupled with the increased number of non-religious officials in charge of social and political sectors, allowed for the decline of Catholic influence that would eventually lead to the secularization of Quebec. “Conflicting Visions of Society: The case of Francophone communities in the Prairies (1860-1920)” by Martin Marcel comments on how many French Canadians outside of Quebec struggled to preserve their national identity in the wake of imperialistic colonization and the loss of French Catholic Church influence. Anglo-Saxon Protestant nationalists aimed to assimilate the nation into one of British Protestant ideals in response to large waves of immigration in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. In response to areas in the Prairies becoming colonized by the British government, certain French church officials tried to persuade Quebecers to set up their own communities in the west in order to establish a second Quebec that would help to preserve French culture and influence in Canada. However, Irish Catholics took control of the dioceses outside Quebec, as they were more willing to adhere to their

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