UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The "Holy War" in Quebec, 1860-1890 Ullman, Walter


In the second half of the nineteenth century the province of Quebec was the centre of a series of politico-religious controversies. Some of these clashes were the result of friction within the Roman Catholic Church, others resulted from conflicts between Church and State. Basically, however, all of them stemmed from one common root - a conflict of two ideologies. In one camp were the traditionalists, the upholders of the status quo, in the other the liberals and progressives. Each camp had its extreme and moderate factions. In this thesis three of the most characteristic clashes between the two ideologies have been described and analyzed. An attempt has been made to trace all three of them to one common denominator. In the controversy around the Institut Canadien and in the Guibord case, it has been shown how an originally unimportant controversy over the religious orthodoxy of a literary institution gradually developed into a major conflict between Church and State. The rise and fall of the Institut Canadien have been described and so have been the court proceedings in all four instances in the famous Guibord case. Conclusions as to the definition of relationship between Church and State have been drawn from the verdicts by the courts. The second case of friction has been presented as one of a conflict within the Church. The quarrel between the Laval University and the Ecole de Médecine et de chlrurgle de Montréal has been chosen as being characteristic of internal dissension within the Quebec hierarchy. The episcopate, while united in its struggle against the authority of the State, was in itself divided into an extreme and a moderate faction. The role of Rome in the conflict has been emphasized and the attitude of the extremists has been criticized. The third and last chapter of the thesis involves a description and analysis of a series of electoral contests. It has been attempted to present these contests as a desperate but ultimately successful struggle of the Liberals to escape clerical control in Roman Catholic constituencies. The participation of numerous priests in the electoral campaigns has been brought out and the question has been posed whether or not their activities constituted "undue influence". A series of court decisions have been invoked in answer to the problem. It has been seen that, by appealing to the civil courts, the Liberals finally escaped clerical proscription. In the conclusion it has been shown that in, all three cases of conflict, the moderate faction ultimately was victorious. The possibility has been hinted that a victory for the extreme camp might have brought about the formation of a Catholic party in both Quebec and Ottawa with the necessary result of the formation of a Protestant counterpart.

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