FAITH AND REASON
The Catholic Philosophers
CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY in Canada is as old as the country itself. It arrived, after all, with Monseigneur de Laval1 and the seminary at Quebec. In English Canada, too, though at most places and times Catholics have constituted a minority, the need to maintain an effective priesthood necessitated the creation of seminaries wherever there were substantial centres of population, and the teaching of philosophy, sometimes thought a luxury and even a dangerous one in Protestant circles, has always been regarded as essential in the Catholic tradition.
Indeed, the strength of philosophy in Canada from the beginning of the period which this book covers has owed much to that tradition. Philosophy departments in Canadian universities--at least in central Canada and in the Maritime Provinces--have usually been larger than those in American universities of comparable size and a good part of the reason is that Protestant institutions sought to defend their positions against a well-organized Catholic tradition of which they stood in genuine fear. It is worth noting that one of the reasons given for not closing Queen's university altogether in 1850 was that "the whole of the superior education of those large sections of country, of which Kingston is the natural capital, would be made over to a Roman Catholic Seminary."2 The Presbyterian authors of these sentiments did not only keep their college open; they insisted that the best minds from Scotland must be enlisted to combat this threat. Thus did we get our Murrays and Watsons.
That negative influence was only a beginning. When the Baldwin Bill of 1849 established a secular university in Toronto, the Protestant colleges shunned affiliation with it. The mentors of the struggling Catholic St. Michael's College who served, for the most part, a less____________________