Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Dominion of Canada and Religious Liberty

Today, Dominion Day (or Canada Day), I thought of today's Gospel and how the hemorrhaging woman could be seen as a symbol of Canada: a nation bleeding from her sins, a nation in need to come close to Christ, to be healed. A nation, that needs not celebration of sin, not pride in evil, but humble contrition, and a return to the Gospel. Pope Leo XIII once wrote that to have had the Gospel, the Truth and to abandon it for falsehood and all the rest; surely this is madness. As this madness spreads, I thought it opportune to recall us to some of our more important foundations - such as the exercise of religious liberty as is the right of every free man. In a day when internet "show trials" destroy the person, all the more should we proclaim the religious right to dissent from State dogma, from media pressure, from elites... Religious freedom is one key note in the melody of liberty that distinguishes the freeman from the slave, the free nation from the fascist State. Note, as well, that religious liberty pre-dates the Canadian State. Religious liberty is not something the State grants; rather it can only recognize it, just as I must recognize that two and two make four. 

From the Catholic Encyclopedia (1971): 

In 1840 the union of Upper and Lower Canada, so long fought off by the latter as an act of gross injustice, was accomplished. The avowed aim of the Protestants of Ontario was to make Quebec subject to Ontario, the French element to the English, the Catholic to the Protestant. Contrary to all expectation, this act turned out favourable to the liberty and progress of Catholicism. Far from abrogating the provisions of the constitution of 1791 concerning the Catholic religion, it extended them, at the same time providing for their enforcement. For in 1840, after the guarantees of liberty given the Catholic Church by the British Government, the spiritual supremacy of the king in religious affairs could not be maintained as defined in the Royal Instructions of 1791. Let us add that Lord Elgin, a broad-minded governor, appeared on the scene, and recognized that it was time to put an end to a system of government based on partiality and the denial of justice.

To this governor Canada is indebted for her religious liberty, plainly granted in an act of 1851 issued by the King of Great Britain and published in the Canadian press, 1 June 1852. Here it is formally stated that the "free exercise and enjoyment of profession and religious worship, without distinction or preference, are permitted by the constitution and laws of this province of Canada to all the subjects of His Majesty in the said province."

1 comment:

Freyr said...

A very interesting little tidbit... thanks.