Canada, The Catholic Church in
CANADA, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
The second largest country in the world after Russia, Canada is comprised of the northern half of the North American Continent and adjacent islands, except Alaska. It is bordered on the north by the Canadian Arctic Islands, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the United States and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Mountainous in its western regions with plains falling to the lowlands in the south, Canada has a climate that varies from temperate in the south, to arctic in the far north. The wealth of natural resources found in the region includes iron ore, nickel, copper, zinc, gold, lead, silver, coal, natural gas and petroleum, while agricultural products grown in its vast plains consist of wheat, barley, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Dairy farms and a strong fishing industry also contribute to Canada's economy.
Self-governing since 1867, Canada retains ties to Great Britain as a Commonwealth nation, despite the fact that the French-speaking province of Québec maintains a civil law based on the French system. Canada is divided into ten provinces, the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories. Ontario is the largest and most populous of the principally English provinces, while the Province of Québec is second in both population and industrial production. Canadian provinces are completely autonomous in such things as education, civil law, property rights, exploitation of natural resources and other matters of local interest. The federal government has jurisdiction in matters of national concern, e.g., postal service, customs, shipping, navigable rivers, criminal law and military service. The boundary between the United States and Canada is the longest unfortified border in the world. While friction between Québec and the rest of Canada has traditionally threatened the federation, the flow of professionals to more lucrative employment in the United States also stalled the region's otherwise thriving economy.
Discovery and Colonization. Norsemen from Greenland under Leif Ericson explored North American shores, probably those of present-day Canada, around the 11th century. In 1497 John Cabot sailed from Bristol, England, to either Cape Breton Island or Newfoundland. Thereafter European fishermen flocked to the banks of Newfoundland and to the mainland coasts. In 1534 Jacques Cartier of Saint-Malo, France, reached the Gaspé Peninsula and planted a cross on July 24, taking possession of Canada in the name of King Francis I. The following year he explored the interior, visiting both Stadaconé (Québec) and Hochelaga (Montréal), and preached to the native tribes with the help of interpreters. He planned a settlement with François Roberval, but war interfered with those plans. For the next 60 years colonization ceased, although the fisheries and fur trade continued.
French Rule. In 1603 Samuel de Champlain visited Canada briefly. Upon his return in 1604 the first settlement was established on Sainte-Croix Island, but half of the expedition died of scurvy during the winter. In June of 1605 the colony, with help from France, moved to Port Royal, Acadia (Annapolis, Nova Scotia), where Father Nicolas Aubry began evangelization among the native
tribes. Aubry was replaced in 1610 by Jesse Fléché, who died in 1611. Jesuits Pierre Biard and Ennemond Massé continued the missionary work, particularly among the Micmacs. However, in 1613 the British attacked Port Royal, destroying the Jesuit colony at Mount Desert Island and causing the Jesuits to abandon the Acadian mission and return to France.
Meanwhile, in 1608 Champlain founded Québec, bringing Franciscan friars Denys Jamet, Joseph Le Caron, Jean Dolbeau and Brother Pacifique Duplessis to work among the native people of Lower Canada. Accompanying Champlain during his exploration of the Great Lakes, they brought the Gospel to the Hurons. In need of assistance, the friars issued a call to the Jesuits and in 1625 Fathers Charles Lallemant, Jean de Brébeuf and Ennemond Massé arrived in Québec. Brébeuf immediately proceeded to Huron country where he was supported by the Company of One Hundred Associates (Company of New France) in settling the area. Meanwhile Québec prospered; it had about 100 inhabitants when it was captured by Scottish-English forces in July of 1629. The 1632 Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye restored France's possessions in America, whereupon the French resettled Acadia and resumed the colonization of Québec. Capuchins sent to that region by Cardinal richelieu worked zealously until 1755, when they were dispersed by the British. Almost 3,000 avoided exile by taking refuge in Canada, Newfoundland and the United States, and when London authorized the return of former inhabitants to Acadia in 1764, many returned. From 1632 to 1659 Québec, Trois-Rivières and Montréal formed the three important centers of the French colony.
In 1632 Jesuit Fathers Paul Lejeune, Anne de Nouë, Antoine Daniel, Ambroise Davost and Brother Gilbert Burel arrived in Québec and reopened the missions within a year. In August of 1634 the missionaries moved to Trois-Rivières, and established a college at Québec the following year, the first north of Spanish America. The Jesuits's success among the Huron angered the Iroquois, resulting in the deaths of the eight north american martyrs, canonized by Pius XI on June 29, 1930.
The Duchess of Aiguillon founded the Hotel Dieu at Québec, under the direction of the Augustinians from Dieppe, and the Ursulines established a convent directed by marie of the incarnation. Montréal was settled under the aegis of the Paris-based Society of Our Lady of Montréal, and was celebrated with a Mass led by Barthélemy Vimont, SJ, in 1642. The Hotel Dieu at Montréal was founded by Jeanne Mance. In 1657 the Society of Ville-Marie sent the first four Sulpicians to Montréal, and in 1658 Marguerite Bourgeois founded the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady for the education of girls. About this time the Church of New France received Bishop François de Montmorency Laval, who reached Québec in June of 1659. He established a seminary of foreign missions in 1663 and a secondary school at Québec in 1668. By 1665 the settlement included 18 secular priests,
31 Jesuits, ten Ursulines, 23 hospitallers and four Sisters of the Congregation. In 1674 Québec was established as a diocese responsible directly to the Holy See.
The colonies had a threefold struggle against the native tribes, the English coastal colonies and the commercial interests of the companies controlling the settlements under a royal grant. In 1663 the king of France appointed an administrator and set up an independent council. The Sulpicians ministered to a new colony established at Kingston in 1673 and constructed a church and a seminary at Montréal. The Franciscans returned to Canada in 1670 and began work in Québec, Montréal, Detroit, the Gaspé, Cape Breton and Newfoundland. The Iroquois agreed to receive Jesuit missionaries, through whom Kateri tekakwitha was converted to Christianity. Claude allouez, SJ, the first missionary to the Ottawas, founded the Mission of the Holy Ghost, at the extreme western end of Lake Superior, from which Father Jacques marquette and Louis Joliet left for their exploration of the Mississippi in 1673.
Laval resigned his see in 1674. His successor, Jean Baptiste de la Croix Chevrières de Saint-Vallier, was consecrated in Paris on Jan. 25, 1688, and arrived in Québec on August 15. His administration was a controversial one, disrupted by the civil authorities, the clergy and the religious orders. In 1700 he was captured and imprisoned by the British while on his way to France and did not return to Canada until 1713. Before his death in 1727, he founded the general hospital at Québec and convoked the first diocesan synods in 1690. Henri Marie Dubreuil de Pontbriand (d. 1760), who arrived in Québec in 1741, restored and enlarged the cathedral, reorganized the clergy retreats, twice traveled throughout his immense diocese and wrote a considerable number of circulars and pastoral letters. He took a personal interest in the missions of the Louisiana Territory and Detroit. In 1755 he sanctioned
the Institute of Mme. d' Youville, the Sisters of Charity of the General Hospital of Montréal (grey nuns). The cathedral was destroyed during the Seven Years' War (1756–63).
French Losses of Territory. The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ceded to England all of Hudson's Bay, Newfoundland and Acadia. France now attempted to extend Canadian boundaries westward, and Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye reached Lake Winnipeg in 1733. However, English colonists took advantage of the Seven Years' War to gain control of Québec in 1759 and Montréal in 1760. By the Treaty of Paris (1763), England acquired Canada, Acadia and the eastern part of Louisiana, leaving France only the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
By this time the Catholic population—all of French descent—had increased to 65,000 and were distributed throughout Québec, Trois-Rivières, Montréal and the parishes along the banks of the Saint Lawrence. Each city had its own institutions of charity and elementary schools conducted by nuns, while the rural schools were entrusted to the Sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady, or to lay teachers under the direction of the clergy. In addition, the Jesuits had their college at Québec and the Sulpicians their apostolic works at Montréal. The missionaries pursued their ministry among the indigenous tribes of the eastern and central portions of Canada and the Louisiana Territory. Coming under British control, the Church lacked a bishop; its 196 priests, 88 parishes and six communities of women passed to the control of a country whose laws were openly hostile to Catholics.
English Rule. As a British colony, Canadians enjoyed only those religious freedoms permitted under English law. Control from Rome was illegal and correspondence with the pope forbidden. A shortage of priests resulted when many chose to return to France. After the death of Pontbriand in 1760, the chapter reaffirmed the authority of the vicars-general and a third bishop
was appointed for the Trois-Rivières area. In 1765 Joseph Olivier Briand, vicar-general and administrator of Québec succeeded in getting a promise that the English government would not actively oppose his consecration. Later Briand obtained permission from London for a coadjutor with the right of succession, and in 1772 he consecrated Louis Philippe Mariaucheau d' esglis, the first Canadian to become a bishop. Although at first the bishop and his coadjutor were regarded simply as "overseers of the Roman Church," the British eventually gave in and in 1811 the crown lawyers submitted that it would be difficult to deny the bishop the use of his title. The bishops of Québec were accorded the honorary title of archbishop until, in 1844, Archbishop Joseph Signay became the first to bear the title of metropolitan.
The Québec Act. In 1774 England passed the Québec Act, which returned to Canadians their civil and religious liberties. A civil government replaced the military and an oath of loyalty replaced the old oath of renunciation of the Catholic faith. Thus Catholics became eligible for public office and freedom of religion was assured, the single restrictive clause "obedient to the authority of the King" being added to calm fanatics and to reserve the right to install a Protestant bishop at Québec. However, most Canadians were not satisfied with the act, principally because of the unpopularity of the legislative council. In 1791, therefore, two new constitutional governments were created: one for Lower Canada and one for Upper Canada, each with its own governor aided by a legislative council and an executive council chosen by the governor, and by a legislative assembly elected by the people. These changes proved beneficial to the Church, as did the French Revolution, for between 1791 and 1802 about 45 French priests, in exile in England, were permitted to immigrate to Canada.
In 1818 Bishop Joseph Octave plessis regrouped Canada's 500,000 Catholics into four units: the vicariate apostolic of Halifax (1817), Montréal, Upper Canada and the Red River area. When Plessis set out for Rome in 1819 to obtain approval for his plan, he did not know that Québec had been designated an archdiocese (Jan. 12, 1819), and that Rome had established a vicariate apostolic for Upper Canada and New Brunswick, whose titulary was the vicar-general of Québec. Opposition from Lord Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, led Plessis to renounce his plan for several dioceses and to agree not to assume the title of archbishop, which would have made him senior to the Protestant bishop. He did, however, obtain the government's permission for two regional bishops: Jean Jacques Lartigue for Montréal and Joseph Norbert pro vencher for the Red River. But in point of fact, four bishops had been named in 1819 and this state of affairs was eventually sanctioned. After that the Church grew rapidly, due in no small part to the efforts of Bishop Ignace bourget of Montréal who enlisted the help of several religious communities in France, established them locally, worked for the education of his people and took an active part in the missionary movement both in Canada and among the Canadians who had immigrated to the United States.
Alexander MacDonell became bishop of Kingston in 1826 and Angus MacEachern bishop of Charlottetown in 1829. There followed the dioceses of Toronto (1841) and Bytown (modern Ottawa; 1847), after which sees multiplied rapidly in Upper Canada, due to the influx of Scottish Catholics and other non-English immigrants. The Church also expanded into the western part of the country. In 1845 the Oblates of Mary Immaculate went to the Red River country and under the leadership of Bishop Alexandre tachÉ (later archbishop of St. Boniface), the Church made rapid progress among the native tribes even in the northernmost regions.
Confederation. By the early 19th century a movement for the union of all the provinces was slowly gaining favor. In 1864 London approved the plan by the British North America Act, and on July 1, 1867 the Dominion of Canada came into being, comprised of the Provinces of Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with Ottawa as the capital city. Other provinces were later added: Manitoba in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1905, the Yukon and Northwest Territories in 1912, and Newfoundland, including Labrador, in 1949. By the Statutes of Westminster (1931) Canada received full and complete independence, with no tie to Britain other than her voluntary allegiance to the Crown.
Bibliography: Canada and Its Provinces, eds., a. shortt and a. g. doughty, 23 v. (Toronto 1914–17). j. bruchÉsi, Histoire du Canada pour tous, 2 v. (Montréal, v.1, 5th ed.; v.2, 4th ed., 1946). w. p. bull, From Macdonnell to McGuigan: The History of the Growth of the Roman Catholic Church in Upper Canada (Toronto 1939). p. f. x. de charlevoix, History and General Description of New France, tr. j. g. shea, 6 v. (New York 1866–72). dominique de saint-denis, L'Église catholique au Canada (6th ed. Montréal 1956), Fr. and Eng. É. m. faillon, Histoire de la colonie française en Canada, 3 v. (Montréal 1865–66). a. h. gosselin, L'Église du Canada après la conquête, 2 v. (Québec 1916–17). l. m. lejeune, Dictionnaire général … du Canada, 2 v. (Ottawa 1931). a. g. morice, History of the Catholic Church in Western Canada: From Lake Superior to the Pacific, 1659–1895, 2 v. (Toronto 1910). Documents relating to Northwest Missions 1815–1827, ed. and tr. g. l. nute, (St. Paul 1942). g. sagard-thÉodat, Histoire du Canada et voyages que les Frères mineurs recollects y ont faicts pour la conversion des infidèles depuis l'an 1615, 4 v. (Paris 1866). a. tessier, Histoire du Canada, 2 v. (3d ed. Québec 1959); Neuve France, 1524–1763, v.1. Mandemants, lettres pastorales et circulaires des èvêques de Québec, eds., h. tÊtu and c. o. gagnon, 2 v. (NS, Québec 1889–90).
The Modern Era. By the first half of the 20th century, Canada had attained full industrial and national maturity. In 1959 Georges Vanier became governor-general, the second Canadian and the first Catholic to hold this office. The period after 1900 was also one in which the Canadian Church came of age. In 1908 it was removed from the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, signifying that it was no longer regarded by the Holy See as a missionary territory. This recognition of the adulthood of the Canadian Church had been foreshadowed in 1899 by the establishment of an apostolic delegation and the naming of Canada's first cardinal in the person of Archbishop Elzéar taschereau of Québec. Under the confederation, there was no State religion in Canada; all beliefs enjoyed complete freedom. Relations between the civil authority and the Catholic Church remained both proper and cordial, and in several matters the State collaborated closely with the Church.
The Church's growing vitality was reflected in its numerous clergy, its prosperous religious communities, its agencies for religious and social work, and its colleges and universities. Canadian missionaries worked in all areas of missionary endeavor and initiated a significant effort for the aid of the countries of Latin America. While at the time of the Confederation (1867) Protestants outnumbered Catholics, by the 1970s Catholics had become the predominant religious group.
The Influence of Vatican II. In 1943, two decades before the Second Vatican Council encouraged the establishment of national episcopal conferences, the Canadian bishops had created the Conférence des évêques du Canada/Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). The presidency alternates between the two linguistic sectors of the Conference, so that when the president is an Anglophone the vice president is a Francophone and vice versa. The CCCB's staff is likewise balanced, and includes offices of Social Affairs, Missions, Liturgy, Religious Education and the Canadian Appeal Tribunal. In addition to the national CCCB, there are four regional episcopal assemblies: the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, the Assemblée des évêques du Québec, the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Western Catholic Conference.
Canadian bishops attending Vatican II included Paul-Émile Léger (b. 1904) of Montréal; Maurice Roy (1905–85), archbishop of Québec City; George Bernard Flahiff (b. 1905), archbishop of Winnipeg; and Bishop Gerald Emmett Carter (b. 1912). The progressive positions taken by the Canadian bishops at the Council continued to be articulated at the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops dating from 1967. The Canadian delegation called for service, not power; for communion, not regimentation; for an authentic application of the "principle of subsidiarity" in the Church itself; for the priest's role in the world to extend to a legitimate pursuit of temporal objectives; for the preaching of social and not merely private justice.
After Vatican II, the CCCB provided leadership in many areas of Catholic concern, most notably through the National Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs. Initially, there were both Anglophone and Francophone social affairs commissions, but they were successfully merged in 1973. Social justice issues were also the motivation behind the Church's cooperation with various non-Catholic bodies, both Christian and non-Christian. Although there were ecumenical discussions prior to Vatican II, following the Council the ecumenical climate in Canada warmed considerably. Common projects such as the Toronto School of Theology, the Atlantic School of Theology and the faculty of religious studies at McGill University, Montréal provided a solid ecumenical environment. Similarly, the Ecumenical Forum (Toronto), the Canadian Center for Ecumenism (Montréal) and the Shalom Institute (Vancouver) created a dialogue across the faiths. The premier ecumenical body in the country is the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), in which the Roman Catholic Church has associate status. The CCC is designed to give expression to the fundamental unity of Christian communions and provide a forum for dialogue and shared action. It works in concert with the World Council of Churches. In addition, Canada is the only country that has a permanent national level committee bringing together representatives of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian Council of Churches and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Atlantic Canada. During the 1970s many of Canada's Atlantic dioceses experienced serious losses in clerical and religious personnel, resulting in difficulties for the congregations that maintain hospitals and schools in the area. However, the role of the laity was vigorously fostered in much of the area. The contemplative life fostered by Cistercians and Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood, underwent a modern revival in the Nova Nada (Spiritual Life Institute of America) community in the Diocese of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. As a sign of both the maturing ecumenical climate following the Council and of the pragmatic leadership of the local Ordinary, when the regional Holy Heart seminary was closed in 1970, the archdiocese of Halifax cooperated with the Anglican and United Church authorities to establish the Atlantic School of Theology. By the late 1990s the province' nondenominational education system, which had been run by church boards since 1949, was under fire, and in 1998, following a referendum a provincial school system was set in place that would include religious education and observances within its regimen.
Another sign of the times following Vatican II and concurrent with the revival of Québec nationalism was the emergence of Acadian consciousness—religious, political and cultural. The Acadians, French-speaking Roman Catholics, traced their roots back to the pre-Conquest period in Atlantic Canada, and their infamous deportation in the 18th century became the stuff of legend. Religious communities helped preserve Acadian identity. The Holy Cross Fathers established St. Joseph's College (1864), which eventually became the Université de Moncton, and the Eudist Fathers founded the Collège Ste. Anne (1890), Church Point, N.S, which became inter-denominational in 1971. In the post-conciliar period, with the emphasis on the value of indigenous culture and the necessity for liturgical adaptation, the Church's commitment to the Acadian revival was secured.
Catholicism in the Maritime "provinces" remained strongly Celtic as well as French; moreover, the native Micmac and Malecite tribes, were almost all Catholic. In Nova Scotia, the Church helped foster Celtic culture, both at the parish level on Cape Breton Island, and at the academic level at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. Even through the 20th century, the European immigrants who altered the face of Catholicism in Upper Canada had little impact on the ethnic and linguistic mix of the Atlantic provinces. By the year 2000 the Atlantic provinces had 747 parishes tended by 616 diocesan and 117 religious priests. Other religious included approximately 52 brothers and 2,100 sisters.
Québec. The Church in New France was a vigorous and powerful one. Educators, social reformers, mystics and administrators of distinction molded the shape of the new world, among them marie de l'incarnation, founder of the Ursuline order in Canada; François de laval de Montmorency, the first bishop of New France; and Marie-Marguerite D' youville, founder of the Sisters of Charity of the Hôspital Général de Montréal. Jesuits, Sulpicians, Recollets and Hospitallers served the numerous pastoral needs of the ever-expanding Church.
After France relinquished her holdings to Britain in the Treaty of Paris (1763), the Gallic influence of the Québec Church was weakened, and the Church now looked to Rome as the intellectual and administrative center for French Canadian Catholics. During the French Revolution significant numbers of that country's religious sought refuge in French Canada, and Catholicism became a major factor in preserving the French culture and language from assimilation by the British. While Québec's reliance on Rome helped protect French Catholic integrity, it also inculcated a profound clerical and theological conservatism which served the interests of the state, particularly the early nationalists, and resulted in a unified Catholic voice, a spiritual homogeneity.
The Quiet Revolution. The Quiet Revolution—la révolution tranquille—is generally considered to have commenced with Premier Joseph-Mignault-Paul Sauvé's "désormais" (henceforth), uttered in the provincial legislature in the fall of 1959. Sauvé was responding to a question from the opposition that argued a particular point on the ground that that was the way it was always done in the past. Sauvé's "désormais" was a public declaration of departure from the past of a social and feudal Québec. The Quiet Revolution meant fundamental modifications in the educational and social service institutions of the province; increased participation of French Canadians in the federal civil service and in federal public life; and a stronger involvement of French Canadians in the business community and in the general economic life of the province and the nation. These changes profoundly affected the Church, the principal and most powerful institution in Québec.
Concurrent with the political and social upheaval in the province were the changes created by Vatican II. Rather than concentrate on power and privilege, under the leadership of Léger of Montréal and Roy of Québec City and amid some controversy, the Church gradually divested itself of exclusive ownership and responsibility for hospitals, trade unions, orphanages and cooperatives. Georges-Henri Lévesque, a Dominican friar and founder of the faculty of social science at Laval University; Alexandre Vachon, the first dean of the faculty of science at Laval, and subsequently archbishop of Ottawa; Adrian Puliat, reputedly the founder of engineering education in Québec; renowned educator Alphose-Marie Parent, chairman of the Parent Commission that reorganized Québec's secondary school system and abolished Church-controlled classical colleges; atomic physics professor Larkin Kerwin, first lay president of Laval and president of the National Research Council—these figures and others assisted in the work of the Quiet Revolution, convinced that the diminishment of Church power and the increasing secularization of the province did not herald the end of Christianity in the province. Nonetheless, the insularity, the triumphalism, the enormous energy and large personnel, the privileges and prerogatives of an established and respected institution—all these things passed.
Despite the changes following the Quiet Revolution and Vatican II, and despite a loss of clergy, the Church in Québec remained a stronghold of the faith in Canada. Although the Church relinquished many of its schools, hospitals, orphanages, etc. to the state, Québec's religious and church leaders continued to exercise considerable, though far more modest, influence on their society. Repeatedly, Québec's bishops took a leading role in attending to social and political issues: the problems of inflation and unemployment; the role of trade unions; the dignity of work and the workplace; the role of women in the family, society, and Church; the principle of self-determination as it relates to all people; and the ravages of sexism both in society and in the Church. In the area of women and ministry, the Québec church cooperated closely with such women's groups as L'autre Parole, Femmes en Eglise, Femmes en Ministerem, and Femmes de l'église Populaire. By 2000 the Québec Church had 1,883 parishes tended by 3,010 diocesan and 1,952 religious priests. Other religious included approximately 2,000 brothers and 16,300 sisters.
Ontario. While Ontario traditionally harbored deep reservations concerning the Roman Catholic faith, by the late 1900s its Catholic population was 35 percent and growing. With immigration mostly from historically Catholic countries like Italy, Poland and Portugal following World War II, the Ontario Church moved from being a largely Irish, French and German church to a multi-ethnic community. To meet the pastoral needs of the new immigrants, the Ontario bishops, and particularly the Archbishop of Toronto, drew upon many ethnic priests and sisters.
Of special concern to Ontario Catholics was their school system. From the Confederation until 1915 primary Catholic schools received public funding, and from 1915 to 1985 they received additional funding for grades nine and ten. Full funding to all Catholic schools in Ontario was granted in 1987, creating one of the wealthiest and most sophisticated Catholic school systems on the continent. However, during the 1990s the system came under fire from minority faiths and was forced to justify the existence of such public funding. In a lawsuit brought by Jewish and Protestant parents who claimed that public funding violated their constitutional right to equality of religion, the court ruled that such constitutional rights to the public funding of religious education were limited to those established at the time of Confederation. The system again came under attack in late 1999 when the United Nations human rights committee ruled that Ontario's funding of Catholic schools was a violation of an international agreement. Although the UN ruling was not binding, it gave the Ottawa government cause for concern and the matter continued to be reviewed into 2000. In addition to its primary and secondary schools, the Church, through various religious congregations, administered several Catholic colleges federated with the provincial universities.
In addition to education, other areas of concern to the Ontario Church included immigration, unemployment, housing, farm subsidies and spiritual alienation in the urban centers. While the Church continued to grow, like other Churches in Canada, it suffered from a decline of clerical personnel that threatened the continued health of the institution. By 2000 the Church in Ontario had 1,273 parishes tended by 1,584 diocesan and 988 religious priests. Other religious included approximately 190 brothers and 3,600 sisters. Of those total parishes and missions, eight were of the Slovakian Church and 75 were of the Ukranian Church.
The West. The Church in Western Canada included the territories—Yukon and the Northwest Territories— the three prairie provinces—Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta—and the Pacific province of British Columbia. The relative youth of the western Church could be seen in the fact that most of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions were accorded the status of dioceses only in the 20th century: Regina, 1910; Edmonton, 1912; Winnipeg, 1915, for instance.
The West was unique in that it had a sizable Ukrainian population with its own ecclesiastical province and metropolitan see. It also had a large Catholic population of native people, who by the 1980s were at the center of various national and provincial social justice initiatives. The political and cultural aspirations of Canada's native peoples were endorsed by many Catholics eager to redress the inequities of the past and resolved to support an indigenous movement toward legitimate self-government, land claim rights and the recovery of authentic native values. Kisemanito (Great Spirit) Center in Grouard, Alberta, founded in 1980, worked to educate a native clergy, while dioceses sought new ways to incorporate native customs and concepts into the public worship of the Church. In 1975 the Church, together with other Christian churches, established "Project North," to mobilize public opinion in favor of the native peoples. The Nishga in British Columbia and the Dene in the Northwest Territories benefited especially from the churches' vigorous defense of aboriginal land claims.
Western Canadian bishops remained vigilant in defending the rights of native people, acutely conscious of its responsibilities but also acutely conscious of its limited clerical resources. Many of the western dioceses relied on lay leadership exclusively, and the few vocations to the religious and priestly life that were fostered were incapable of meeting the mounting needs. In the past, many of the major western dioceses relied on clergy from Atlantic Canada to supply their pastoral needs, but this ceased to be the case by the 1970s. To help meet the needs of a maturing laity, western bishops looked to such bodies as the Newman Theological College, Edmonton; the Catholic Bible College, Canmore; and the Catholic liberal arts colleges: St. Thomas More (Basilian), Saskatoon; Regina (Jesuit), Campion; St. Pauls' (Jesuit/lay), Winnipeg; St. Joseph's (Basilian), Edmonton; St. Mark's (Basilian), Vancouver. British Columbia's Trinity Western University, which trained Catholic teachers for primary and secondary schools, fought to maintain the traditions of the Church in 1999 by successfully overturning an attempt by the British Columbia College of Teachers to remove its requirement that students not engage in homosexual activity during their tenure at the college. Despite a statement from two Supreme Court Justices to the effect that Christianity was discriminatory and intolerant of differences, the university won its case. Although the western Church remained both a minority church within a predominately Protestant society and an evangelizing church, it continued to be concretely involved in social causes, particularly as they pertained to indigenous peoples and to the defense of Catholic values. By 2000 the Western provinces contained 1,691 parishes and missions, tended by 789 diocesan and 574 religious priests. Other religious included approximately 120 brothers and 2,240 sisters. Of these totals, the Ukranian Church had 440 parishes and missions in the region.
Into the 21st Century. By the year 2000 the Church in Canada was seeking to address issues from its past as well as from its future. Beginning in 1997 the bishops attempted to address certain "errors" once committed by Canadian missionaries working in Latin America and promoted the possibility of inter-American episcopal conferences as a way of meeting the needs of an increasing Spanish-speaking population in North America. Similar efforts were made to address the wrongs done to native tribes by early Christian missionaries, one in September of 2000 organized as part of an ecumenical effort in Newfoundland. The government's liberal stance on many social issues continued to concern, and sometimes divide the clergy. Canadian courts and the legislature were proactive in legalizing abortion in 1988, legalizing the abortifacient RU-86 in 1996 and ending the distinction between homosexual and heterosexual couples in 1999. In May of 1999, during the Canadian bishops's ad limina visit, Pope John Paul II encouraged the creation of urban lay ministries to combat the "culture of discrimination and of indifference" taking root in modern cities. He also warned against secularization as a force undermining Catholic identity.
Despite the effects of an increasingly liberal culture and the variety of the land and its people, the Canadian church continued to exercise international leadership in the theology of ministry, co-responsibility, subsidiarity and collegiality; it remained a church that strongly defended the political and cultural rights of its native peoples, and that continued to celebrate the value of religious freedom, the priority of conscience, the principle of "unity in diversity," and loyalty to the Roman and Apostolic See.
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[m. w. higgins/eds.]