The Evolution of French Canada

By Jean Charlemagne Bracq | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
EVOLUTION OF RELIGIOUS LIFE

IN gauging Catholicism in "Quebec" one must bear in mind that all religious bodies, willingly or otherwise, create and live in an atmosphere of their own, and limit their interests to the scope of their horizon. The earnest, mystical group that does so much good at Northfield, Massachusetts, and claims to continue Moody's fruitful work, sees but little outside of the circle of its sympathisers. The Society of Friends, that highly intelligent and spiritual fraternity, are in touch with but little outside of their order. They are unusually kind to outsiders, but they enter into the work of other Christians only in so far as they are formally identical with their own. The Unitarians, with their large intellectual coefficient, cannot be said to have a communion of spirit with other religious bodies as large as their theology. This is true of the Methodists, who are so much alive, and of the Baptists, so missionary, so zealous in reaching the churchless, as well as of the Episcopalians, with their relative isolation from other Protestant bodies. This ecclesiastical concentration is a condition of their religious existence. It is the force of cohesion which holds them together.

Roman Catholicism is subject to the same law. In her struggle for existence the church has used various means which do not all commend themselves to us. She claims to transcend all other human powers, and that she has a right to rule over all. She is a religion of authority which dominates the hierarchy at every step, attempts to regulate all

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