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Catholic Problems


Western Canada


George Thomas Daly, C.SS.R.

_With preface by the Most Reverend O. E. Mathieu,
Archbishop of Regina_


Permissu Superiorum

ARTHUR T. COUGHLAN, C.SS.R., Provincial.



St. John, N.B., December 8th, 1920.

Copyright, Canada, 1921











A Call from the West - The Call of the Catholic Church in the West - The
Response of the East - The Specific Object of the Catholic Church
Extension Society.


The Catholic Church Extension Society in Canada - Its Principles and


The Ruthenian Problem - A Religious and National Problem - Its
Phases - Its Solution.


The necessity of a Field Secretary for the Organization of our
Missionary Activities.


The Church Union Movement; its Causes and Various Manifestations - The
Protestant and Catholic View-point.


The Apostolate to non-Catholics; its Obligation - What have we
Done? - What Can we Do?


Obstacles that Impede. . . . Circumstances that Help the Work of the
Church in Western Canada.



A Moral Reason - A Social Reason - A Political Reason - A National
Reason - A British Reason - A Religious Reason . . . for our "Separate


A Crusade for Better Schools in Saskatchewan: Its History - Its
Lessons - An Invitation and a Warning.


Principle on which should be Based the Division of Company-taxes
between Public and Separate Schools.


Higher Education in Western Canada - Duty of the Hour - University
Training, Condition of Genuine leadership - For Catholics Higher
Education means Higher Catholic Education - The Concerted Action of all
Catholics in Western Canada can make a Western Catholic University a



After-war Problems from a Catholic view-point - Reconstruction - The Duty
of the Hour.


Public Opinion and the Catholic Church - What is Public Opinion - Its
Power - How it is Formed - The Catholic Church in its Relation to Public
Opinion - Our Duties to Public Opinion.


Facts - Principles - Policy of the Catholic Truth Society - Its Value for
the Church in Western Canada.


Importance of the Catholic Press - Requisites for its Success in the


Immigration - Are we Ready for it? - Outline of a Plan of Action.


A Catholic Congress of the Western Provinces, the Ultimate Solution of
all their Problems - What is a Congress? - Its Utility - Its
Necessity - Tentative Programme of a General Congress.




A Thought-compelling and Illuminating Article, by L. P. Edwards, in
"New York Times," on Problems that Confront Canada also.


By Glenn Frank in the "Century," June, 1920.


By Rev. D. P. Tighe, "Detroit News," Aug. 24, 1919.


_Letter of the Most Reverend O. E. Mathieu,
Archbishop of Regina, to the Author_

St. John, N.B.

Dear Father, -

Quebec Province claims you as her son. There you lived for many years;
there you learned to admire the peaceful life and to appreciate the
genuine happiness of our patriarchal families; there you were an
eyewitness of the "bonne entente" and noble rivalry which exist between
the ethnical groups that go to make up its population.

At various times your sacred ministry has brought you in touch with the
other Eastern Provinces of our broad Dominion. A keen observer, you
readily grasped existing conditions and the mentality of the various
elements of our Canadian Population.

The year 1917 found you laboring in our beloved Province of
Saskatchewan, as Rector of our Cathedral. For three years you lived
with us. The possibilities of our great West soon appealed to your
enthusiastic heart. The various problems which here engage the
attention of the Church fired your soul with noble ambition. I shall
never forget the good you have done in the parish committed to your
care. I shall be ever grateful for the zeal with which you devoted
yourself, heart and soul, to the guidance of those under your charge.
You found your happiness in making others happy, remembering that
kindly actions alone give to our days their real value. Your priestly
heart understood that when one is in God's service he must not be
content with doing things in a half-hearted way or without willing

But the voice of your Superiors called you to another field of action,
and with ready obedience you hastened to the Eastern extremity of the
Dominion. I can assure you, dear Father, that, though absent, your
memory is still fresh among us. Your old parishioners of Holy Rosary
Cathedral, and others with whom you came in contact through missions
and other work throughout the Province, have kept a fond and faithful
remembrance of your Reverence. The citizens of Regina who are not of
our Faith still remember the noble efforts you always put forth to
promote good will and concord in the community at large. Your charity
proved to them that we were not born to hate but to love one another.
It affords me great pleasure to see that since you left the West you
have continued to have its welfare at heart, its problems ever present
in your thought. For you tell me that you are just about to publish a
book on "Catholic problems in Western Canada."

The West, you have known, studied and loved. The tremendous obstacles,
as well as the great possibilities which there face the Church at this
critical hour of our history, have left on your mind a lasting
impression. You fully realize, dear Father, that our Western problems
are not sufficiently known by the Catholics of the East. Were the
importance of these issues fully appreciated by all, a greater interest
would be taken in regard to their immediate solution. Catholics
throughout the Country, you rightly state, are obliged to further the
influence of Holy Mother Church in our Western Provinces, which will
certainly be called upon within a very near future to play a most
important part in our Dominion.

To draw the attention of Catholics to the critical issues which
conditions, during the last decade or so, have created in our great
West, and to offer solutions which will be beneficial to the Church,
are the noble motives that have prompted your important work and guided
you on to its completion.

Even though some may not fully share your views, or see eye to eye with
you on the means of action you suggest, you will have nevertheless
attained your object. You will have, I am confident, awakened interest
in our Western problems which, I repeat, are unfortunately not known,
or at least, are not fully appreciated by too many of our own.

There is a saying that the heart has reasons which the mind does not
fully grasp. I feel sure that the many hours you have spent in the
composition of your book, coupled with the strenuous work of the
missions, to which you have consecrated yourself with unrelenting zeal
since your departure from our midst, have been calculated to weaken
your health. But your heart, unmindful of self, did not consider time
and fatigue so long as your fellow-man was being benefited. Your love
for God and His Church induced you to undertake this work and carry it
through to completion. Your book, I am sure, is destined to produce
happy results. This will be your consolation and your reward. Asking
God to bless your work and wishing you to accept this expression of my
constant gratitude and sincere friendship, I remain as ever,

Devotedly yours,


_Archbishop of Regina._


REGINA, November 21st, 1920.


Praesentia tangens. . . . .
Futura prospiciens.

Problems characterize every age, sum up the complex life of nations and
give them their distinctive features. They form that moral atmosphere
which makes one period of history responsible and tributary to another.
And indeed, in every human problem there is an ethical element. This
imponderable factor, which often baffles our calculations, always
remains the true, permanent driving force. For in the last analysis of
human things, morality is what reachest furthest and matters most.

Problems may vary with the times and the countries, and yet, the moral
issues involved never change; for, right is eternal. To detect this
ethical element amid the ever restless waves of human activities has
ever been the noble and constant effort of true leaders. Like the
pilot they are ever watching for the lighted buoy on the tossing waves.

This moral element underlying all our national problems is what affects
Catholics as such, or rather the medium through which Catholics are
called to affect them. No period should prove more interesting to
Catholics than our own, for the very principles of Christian Ethics are
now being questioned and vindicated in the lives of nations, either by
the benefits accruing from their application, or by the evils
consequent upon their neglect.

Our neo-pagan world is learning by a cruel and sad experience that
Religion is the foundation of morality, and morality that of true
legality. "For unless certain things antecedent to conscience be
granted and firmly held, 'conscience' becomes synonymous with

Mr. Lloyd George himself, addressing a religious gathering in Wales on
June 9, 1920, recognized Religion as the only bulwark able to resist
the rising tide of anarchy. "Bolshevism is spreading throughout the
world," said the British Premier, "and the churches can alone save the
people from the disaster which will ensue, if this anarchy of will and
aim continues to spread." The task of the churches, he continued, was
greater than that which came within the compass of any political party.
Political parties might provide the lamps, lay the wires and turn the
current on to certain machinery, but the churches must be the power
stations. If the generating stations were destroyed, whatever the
arrangements and plans of the political parties might be, it would not
be long before the light was cut off from the homes of the people. The
doctrines taught by the churches are the _only_ security against the
triumph of human selfishness, and human selfishness unchecked will
destroy any plans, however perfect, which politicians may devise.

This period of history, to quote Gladstone, is "an agitated and
expectant age." The world is travelling fast into a new era. The
modern social fabric, built on the shifting sands of selfishness and
injustice is rocking on its foundations. Amid accumulated ruins
nations are searching for the basic principles of true Reconstruction.
This period of unrest is in itself a challenge to Christianity, to the
Church. But the vitalizing force of Christianity can solve these
problems of a decrepit civilization just as it solved the problem of
tottering Rome. Problems therefore must be faced and solved. Every
Catholic has his place in this world-wide work. If our religion does
not make its influence felt in every phase of our life's activities, it
is - as far as our life and its influence on others is concerned - a
gigantic fraud. Bishop Kettler understood this pressing obligation
when, breaking away from a too conservative programme of action, he was
the first in the Church to give an impetus to the study of the modern
social problem. His policy and action were said to have prompted the
celebrated letter of Leo III, _Rerum Novarum_. The words of this great
democratic Bishop still bear his timely message to Catholics of to-day,
"To save the souls of countless workmen entrusted to her by Christ, the
Church must enter the field of Social reform, armed with extraordinary
remedies. She must exert herself to the utmost to rescue the workmen
from a situation which constitutes a real proximate occasion of sin for
them, a situation which makes it morally impossible for them to fulfill
their duties as Christians."

"The Church is bound to interfere '_ex caritate_,'" as these workmen
are in extreme need and cannot help themselves. Otherwise, the
unbelieving workingman will say to her: "Of what use are your fine
teachings to me? What is the use of your referring me, by way of
consolation, to the next world, if in this world you let me and my wife
and my children perish with hunger? You are not seeking my welfare,
you are looking for something else."

Our fair and broad Dominion has not escaped from that spirit of unrest.
Spasmodic eruptions in the East and in the West indicate the same
central fires of the universal volcano upon which the world now sleeps
uneasily. Yet, various reasons have urged us to limit our
investigation and reflections to Western Canada. The predominating
interests of the West have of late become more and more evident in the
economic and political life of our country. Lord Salisbury, when
trouble was brewing on the far-flung border of India, gave to the
people the famous warning "Look at big maps." To get a just
appreciation of our mighty West we may well follow that same advice and
"look at big maps." The sudden and rapid growth of our Prairie
Provinces particularly, the unlimited and perennial resources of their
fertile soil, the progressive spirit of the population have made of the
West the land of great possibilities and mighty problems. The future
of our Country, the peace and prosperity of the nation depend to a
great extent on the reasonable and just exploitation of these resources
and on the adequate solution to these problems.

There is no place in Canada where problems develop more rapidly and
meet with more radical solutions than in Western Canada. This is the
case in every young and prosperous country. No dead are behind the
living, to link the past to the future with the steadying influence of
tradition. Who has not heard of "The Spirit of the West?" Broad in
its vision, sympathetic and ambitious in its plans, over-confident in
its powers and most aggressive in its policies, that spirit grips you
as you pass beyond the Great Lakes into the unlimited horizons of the
rolling prairies. Those who have never experienced its secret
influence, will never fully understand its tremendous power. J. W.
Dafoe, of the Manitoba Free Press, welcoming to the West the Members of
the Imperial Press Conference (1920), assured them that they would
observe in the West evidence "of a newer Canadianism, the Canadianism
of to-morrow; not hostile to the East, but, we think, a little better."

As the West has forced itself on the attention of our economic and
political world, so also have its Religious problems loomed up many and
great on the horizon of the Church. The Catholic Church, there, as in
many mission countries, is in process of formation: immense fields
await the scythe of belated reapers. Yet, notwithstanding this state
of imperfect organization, the Church stands out as one of the great
moral factors which outsiders are the first to respect, and politicians
too willing at times to exploit. Through her teachings and her
children, she is bound to make the beneficial influence of her presence
felt, even by her enemies. Her teachings indeed create for her loyal
children issues which have to be faced squarely and unflinchingly. The
influence of the Church on Society depends on the manner Catholics
understand their social responsibilities and translate into action her
doctrine. We may well apply to the life of the Church in a country
this biological truism: "life consists in adaptation to environment."
From a Catholic viewpoint Our West will be vitalized only in as much as
the Catholics in Western Canada, thoroughly patriotic in their
aspirations and thoroughly Catholic in their ideas and feelings, will
bring their influence to bear on our national life. Their example and
their influence will lead to the silent and "pacific penetration" of
the Society in which they live. And the Catholics throughout Canada
cannot stand aloof, disinterested in the upbuilding of the Western
Provinces, where the Canada of to-morrow is being created. There
indeed the clash of ideals is more marked, the fermentation of thought
is stronger, issues are more vital. Our national life, to a great
extent, will depend on how these conflicting elements are absorbed into
the blood and sinews of the Country.

The problems on which we dwell are, in our humble estimation, of
paramount importance and should arrest the attention and elicit the
co-operation of every Catholic alive to their seriousness. No doubt we
have been sleeping at our posts. Red lights spot the darkness of the
future and speak of danger ahead if the problems upon which we dwell
are not pressed home with constancy and energy, if some concerted
action is not agreed upon. Behind these problems lurk mighty issues.
They strike at the very foundations of Christianity and Christian
civilization, and cannot be disposed of by Parliament-Laws or

We are a minority, some may say, and without influence. Yes, we are a
minority, but were we a militant minority, our ideas would make their
way. "Small as the Catholic body was in England," said H. Belloc, "it
knew what it thought; it had a determined position. That was of
enormous importance. A minority which was logical, reasonable, and
united was a very much stronger thing than its mere numbers would
suggest." Did not the ideas of a few Oxford men revolutionize the
Church of England and bring on a movement the results of which we still
witness throughout the English-speaking world. The men who see clear
and far, who feel keenly and deeply will necessarily be leaders. The
hand that leads is always governed by a warm heart and a clear eye.
"Devotion is the child of conviction," said Lord Haldane.

The non-Catholic may be inclined to look upon our exposition of these
Western Problems as a merely sectarian viewpoint, and therefore, of no
value to him. He may even look upon our work as an open challenge. I
would answer in Newman's words: "_Our motive for writing has been the
sight of the truth and the desire to show it to others._"

The serious minded non-Catholic, whose soul has not been wholly warped
by prejudice, will at least consider the Catholic Church as one of the
great moral factors in the nation. He will naturally wish to know the
mind of the Church and the reasons for its stand in many problems
common to all Canadians. Our candid explanation will help to give him
a better understanding of facts and a better appreciation of our
position on issues to be faced by us all. We are prompted by a sincere
love for our Country in offering these solutions for the various issues
with which we are confronted. "Preconceived opinions and inherited
prejudices, particularly in religious matters tend to make men either
blind or indifferent to the merits of systems other than their own."
We do not expect our non-Catholic readers to see eye to eye with us in
the discussion of the various problems under examination. Our
viewpoint is naturally the Catholic one. But we do believe that the
broad-minded Westerner is open to conviction and willing to take an
argument on its face value. 'Give us a hearing' . . . . this is the
burden of our message to our non-Catholic countrymen. This book is not
written in a spirit of controversy. Were some to see it in this light,
then I would claim for the author what Birrell said of Newman: "He
contrived to instil into his very controversy more of the spirit of
Christ than most men can find room for in their prayers." Moreover; we
are persuaded that the great war has mellowed the minds of men and made
them more receptive. The contact with other countries has softened the
contours of certain controversies and given to all a broader outlook.

However, should our arguments fail to prove satisfactory or should they
give rise to contradiction, we would repeat here what Newman wrote in
his Preface to "Difficulties of Anglicans," "It has not been our
practice to engage in controversy with those who felt it their duty to
criticise what at any time we have written; but that will not preclude
us under present circumstances, from elucidating what is deficient in
them by further observations, should questions be asked, which, either
from the quarter whence they proceed, or from their intrinsic weight,
have, according to our judgment, a claim upon our attention."

The problems we touch upon are of a general character. They are not
new, but the war and the loose and hysterical thinking which has
accompanied and followed it, have forced them into startling
prominence. We have grouped them under three headings: _religious_,
_educational_, and _social_. We do not pretend to present an
exhaustive treatment of the matter. To do so, would be on our part a
stroke of temerity and for the reader, an assured deception. Human
problems are ever the same. The surface may be somewhat changed, the
handling a little different, but the principles upon which depends
their solution do not change. Our effort is to throw a new light on
old subjects.

To be of service to the Church, and, through Her to our Country, is the
sole ambition we have had before us in gathering together in book-form
stray sheaves of thought, published here and there, during the course
of the last few years. We are quite convinced that a clear vision of
the problems facing the Church in Western Canada will awaken a sense of
the responsibility which they entail for every Catholic in the land.

Our views and suggestions in the matter are but those of a humble
soldier who belongs to the rank and file of the great Catholic army.
But often a private in the firing line can suggest a plan of action
which, when corrected or modified at headquarters, proves to be of some
benefit to his battalion. This explains the dedication of our humble
effort to the Hierarchy of Canada. For in problems which affect the
Church, we would not lose sight of this supreme truth: "The Holy Ghost
has placed the Bishops to rule the Church of God, which He has
purchased with His own blood." -

(Act XX, 28)


On the Feast of the "Immaculate Conception," December 8th, 1920.



"It is surprising how at the bottom of every political problem we
always find some theology involved."

- (Proudhom)



_A Call from the West_

Who has not heard the call of the West? Like the blast of the hunter's
horn in the silent forest, its thrilling and inviting sound has
awakened the echoes throughout the land. Springing from the granite
heart of our mighty Rockies, that call comes through their valleys, is
heard over the "Great Divide" and whispers its way to the foothills.
Soft as the evening breeze, strong as the howling blizzard, we hear it
across the prairie, gathering as it were, on its triumphal march to the
East, something of the immensity of the plains and freshness of the

In the din of our manufacturing cities, in the quietness of our towns
and villages, by the rivers and winding bays of our Maritime Provinces,
along the peaceful shores of the St. Lawrence, the call of the West has
been heard.

Its alluring sound has cast a spell upon our youth, the hope of the
country. Faces flushed with the bright hues of life's dawn, eyes
sparkling with the fires of early youth, instinctively turn to the
West. From all points of Eastern Canada young men and young women are
leaving for that mysterious land of brilliant promise and great

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