Catholic Problems in Western Canada
by George Thomas Daly
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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 Policy.


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 Schools."


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 Reality.



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 West.


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


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 sacrifice.

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 'sentiment.'"

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 Orders-in-Council.

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."




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 lakes.

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 possibilities.

The Call of the West! All Canada is eager to hear its message. Has not the merchant his ear to the ground, listening to the throbbing of the growing harvest on our Western prairies? He knows that in the furrows of that rich loam lie the wealth and prosperity of the country at large. The Eastern manufacturer anxiously scans the daily paper to be posted on crop conditions in the West. They regulate to a great extent the activities and output of his plant. And when college and university days are over, where does the young professional man turn his eyes? To the West. Westward, with the sun, he travels; its fiery course is an invitation to and a harbinger of his bright career.

The Call of the West! Across the ocean it has gone and awakened the dormant energies of old European nations. Settlers of every race and creed have rushed to our shores, like the waves of "the heaving and hurrying tide."

The attraction of the Canadian West has become general, at home and abroad. Nothing can stop this onward march to the land of promise. A new Canada is being created beyond the Great Lakes.

A very small fraction of the Western fertile soil is under cultivation and already the phenomenal yield has prompted the nations at large to call the Prairie Provinces "the granary of the world." Already in Canada the industrial, commercial, and to a great extent, the political world hinges on the Western crop. It is the great source of Canada's national wealth. For, the prodigious resources of our mines and forests, and the annual yield of our harvest are the two poles upon which revolves the credit of our country abroad. But the growing value of the West to the economic and national life of Canada is a mere shadow of its increasing importance in the religious world. Above the hum of the binders and loud clatter of the threshing machines, above the sharp voice of the shrieking steel rail, counting, as it were, one by one, the freighted cars on their way to the Eastern ports, above the clamor of commerce and industry, ring out the voices of immortal souls. The West, for the Church of God also is the land of great possibilities and brilliant promise. The waving sea of its wheat fields calls to mind the words of the Master: "Lift up your eyes and see the countries ready for the harvest. . . . The harvest is great indeed but the labourers are few. . . ."

On his return from a visit to our Canadian West Cardinal Bourne, in the course of conversation, spoke of Canada with almost exclusive reference to the Western Provinces. Some one remarked to him, "Your Grace is referring to conditions in the West?" "Yes, the West, the West is Canada!" he replied.

No one can over-estimate the importance of the West from a Catholic standpoint. It is a new empire that is being formed beyond the Lakes, an empire with tremendous and perennial resources, with ambitious ideals and progressive policies, with forward-looking people and youthful leaders. There the ultra-conservatism of the East has been brushed aside and space made for a new democracy. The question of paramount importance for us is: "What will be the condition of the Church in that coming part of Canada? What share will She have in the solving of the social, educational and economic problems of that new domain?"

Every Catholic should be interested in this vital issue. The call of the West for a Catholic is the call of the Church, the call of a Mother to a loyal son. She has a right to a hearty response from every Catholic throughout our broad Dominion. It is, therefore, a duty of conscience for every son of the Church in Canada to come to the assistance of his mother, to take her honor to heart. At the present hour this duty is most imperative, this obligation most pressing. There is nothing in the wide sphere of our Catholic social duties so immediate in its urgency or so far reaching in its consequences. The Church depends on the loyalty of her children.

To bring this call of our Western missions to the attention of every individual Catholic, to make every soul a co-operator in the extension of God's kingdom in Canada, to develop that sense of responsibility which makes one consider the Church's business his own business, to rally our disbanded forces, to unite our sporadic efforts around the great work of the "Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada"—such is the object of these few pages. To place facts before the reader, and suggest remedies; to sound the call of the West, loud and sonorous as the bugle pealing a great "reveille," strong and clear as the trumpet blast that stirs the blood; to prompt a timely and generous response in the East, by uniting the Church of Canada in a crusade of prayers and sacrifices for our Western Missions: this is our aim and hopeful ambition.

The Call of the Catholic Church in the West

The call of the Church in the West is a cry for help. Great indeed are the pressing needs of the Western Church, for numerous and various are the difficulties with which Catholics have to contend on the prairie and in the small towns.

The first barrier to surmount is distance. The very layout of the country is to a great extent a hindrance to the efficient working of a parish. The survey of the land has been made from a strictly economic point of view. Large farms,—vast wheat fields—were the final object of the survey. The social, educational, and religious phases of the situation are in the background. This renders church and school problems particularly difficult to solve, as was outlined in Dr. Foght's report of the educational survey in the Province of Saskatchewan (1918). This difficulty—let us not forget—will persist for years to come in Western Canada. According to competent authorities wheat growing, being essentially a large unit undertaking, demands extensive farming. This statement is very important, for its consequences in Church organization are far-reaching.

The planless settling of the Catholic homesteaders here and there on the prairie, has also created for the Church one of its greatest difficulties. Living often 30, 40 and 50 miles from a Catholic chapel, these settlers drift away from the authority, teaching and sacraments of the Church. To form self-supporting parishes in the sparsely settled districts is often an impossibility.

To this barrier of immense distances are added for long months, unfavourable climatic conditions. The very severe cold, the high winds which have such a sweep on the boundless prairies, the terrific blizzards of the long winter months, will always remain great obstacles to an intense Catholic life in rural parishes. Many Sundays, from December to March, it is a real impossibility for those who live at any distance to go to Church.

And who are those who have settled on our Western plains? This is not the place to discuss the immigration policies of the past. We are dealing with facts. We have the most cosmopolitan population one could imagine. The most divergent factors go to make up the racial composition of our western population. We know of a city parish that counted 16 different nationalities within its boundaries. During the first and second generation, during what we would call the period of Canadianization of these various national elements, the Church has to face a most difficult and complex situation.

Diversity of nations means variety of ideals, differences of customs and traditions. The disassociation from former relations and the sudden transfer to new conditions of life, have proved to be such a shock to many settlers that they fail to readjust their lives to the arising needs. "Separated from the influences of his early life the immigrant is apt to suffer from disintegrating reaction amid the perplexing distractions, difficulties and dangers of his new environment. Frequently it happens that old associations are destroyed and there is no substitution of the best standards in the new environment. A vacuum is created which invites the inrush of destructive influences." How many foreigners have been lost to the Church because the teachings of their Faith were no longer handed down to them, wrapped up, we would say, in the folds of their national customs and celebrations! The oriental and southern mind is more particularly susceptible to the influence of this national tinge with which religion itself comes to them.

The fusion of so many ethnical groups and their adaptation to new surroundings are the result of a very delicate and slow process, especially in rural communities. "You cannot play with human chemicals any more than with real ones. You have to know something of chemistry," said Winston Churchill. Thousands of foreigners have been lost to the faith because many of our own, clergy and laity, did not know the first elements of "human chemistry." The great leakage from the Church in the West is among Catholic immigrants. Unscrupulous proselytisers on the specious plea of "Canadianization" have weaned them from the faith of their fathers. This nefarious process is still at work, especially in the Ruthenian settlements.

The number of languages complicates still more this ethnical problem. Not hearing the Catholic doctrine in his own language and crippled by that instinctive shyness and extreme reserve which seem to grasp him as he steps on our shores, the foreigner often loses contact with the Church. Like a transplanted shrub in an uncongenial soil, he languishes for years in his faith and its practices.

The very atmosphere of the West is another great cause of defections among the faithful. You must live for some years "out West" to appreciate the full meaning of this statement.

Moral atmosphere is to the soul what air is to the lungs; it is health and life. Two elements constitute that factor which plays such a vital part in our religious life—tradition and environment. Tradition links the past to the present and gives to the soul a certain stability amidst the fluctuations of life. It is made up of details if you wish, but, like the tossing buoy, these details betray where the anchor is hidden. This absence of the past has a great influence on our Western Church. People hailing from all points of Eastern Canada, of the United States and of Europe, have not yet formed religious traditions which are to the Catholic life of the family and of the parish what roots are to a tree.

And what environments surround our scattered settlers on the prairie? Only those who have come in close relation with the lonely homesteader can understand how much he is debarred from the influence of Catholic life. Very often not even a chapel is to be found for miles and miles. A chapel, no matter how humble it may be, is in the religious world of a community like the mother-cell; in it life is concentrated; from it emanates activity. Mass is now often said in a private house, a public hall or a school house. Children who have not known the beauty and the warmth of Catholic worship will hardly appreciate its lessons.

Moreover, social relations often bring our Western Catholics in very frequent contact with the different Protestant churches and their tremendous activities. Mixed marriages are the outcome of these circumstances. God alone knows how many of our Catholic boys and girls have been lost to the faith through "mixed marriages" and marriages outside of the Church.

* * * * * *

These various obstacles, geographical (distance and climate), ethnical (race and language), religious (absence of Catholic tradition and surroundings), are the ever open crevices through which a tremendous leakage has been draining the vitality of the Church in Western Canada. So the call of the West is like the frantic S.O.S. on the high seas, that snaps from the masts of a ship in danger. It is the cry of thousands of Catholics sinking into the sea of unbelief and irreligion. In the wreckage there is still a gleam of hope. Great numbers yet cling to a remnant of the old faith of their fathers; it will keep them afloat until helping hands come to their rescue.

The Call of the Church in the West is a call of distress. Has the Church in the East heard it? What is its response?

The Response of the East

Has the Church at large in the East heard the call of the West? Has that cry of distress gone through the ranks of our Catholics like the shrill blast of the bugle call? Has it awakened our Catholics from their torpid lethargy and quickened their sense of responsibility? Has the call been answered, or has it gone out like a cry in the wilderness, lost in the noise of our busy world, stifled by the clamour of other voices, smothered under other diocesan and parochial claims?

In the Church of Canada there have always been generous and noble souls for whom the missions of the West have had a mysterious attraction. Who can read without emotion of the heroic deeds of the first Jesuits who followed the explorers and courreurs-des-bois in their perilous adventures? What tribute of admiration and gratitude do we not owe to the Oblate missionaries who lived and died with the wandering children of the plains, who have kept the fires of Faith burning, from the banks of the Red River to the Pacific Coast, from the winding shores of the Missouri and Mississippi to the everlasting snows of the Arctic. Their lives of heroism furnish a bright splash on the rather drab and bleak landscape of what was known as the Northwest Territories. The Church of Canada will ever remain indebted to these noble pioneers of the cross, apostolic bishops and priests of the first hour; their saintly lives are forever emblazoned on the pages of Canadian history; the western trails murmur their names in gratitude and the children of the prairie still bless their memory by the dying fires of their camps.

Indeed the Province of Quebec for years sent her money to help the struggling schools of Manitoba. The Catholic Church of Canada has pledged itself in the Plenary Council of Quebec to help the Ruthenian cause; the Catholic Church Extension Society of late years is enlisting the sympathies of Eastern Catholics for our Western missions. With the help of their motherhouses our various sisterhoods have dotted the West with convents, schools, hospitals and charitable institutions. We all recognize the beauty and the heroism of their Catholic charity and apostolic zeal. Notwithstanding these noble efforts, can we safely state that the Church of Eastern Canada, as a whole, is deeply interested in the Catholic welfare of the West? Have we kept pace with the changing conditions the last decade has brought throughout our Western Canada? No. And this is our national sin. The Church as a whole, has not awakened to its responsibility. As individuals, as parishes, as dioceses, Catholics here and there have nobly done their duty. As a body, as a living Church of Canada, we have failed to help the struggling West as we should have done. We have not thrown all the energies of our great living, organizing Church into this missionary work. The Catholics of our Eastern Provinces are not yet united in one great, generous effort to protect and spread the Kingdom of God in their own fair Dominion. The call of the Church in the West has not been heard.

Never has the importance of the West loomed up before the public mind as it has since the beginning of the war. To realize this you have only to remark its growing influence in our political life. It cannot be otherwise; the possibilities of the West are so great and so numerous. Immense virgin prairies are still waiting for the plough. After the war, during the period of reconstruction, necessarily so pregnant of great events, the producing powers of our agricultural West will be tremendous. This is, therefore, a trying period for the Church in the West. Beyond the waving wheat of the prairie we should contemplate the ripening harvest of souls. Like a growing youth, the Church in Western Canada needs more than ever, help and support from the Mother Church of the East. This assistance in the present stage of the Western Church is a pressing duty of conscience, not only for the individual Catholic, but particularly for the Church as a whole, in Eastern Canada.

This duty is a duty of the hour, a duty most serious, most imperative. How can it be accomplished? By the united action of the Eastern dioceses of Canada.

Each diocese is a constituted unity in itself, but not for itself alone. Like each particular organism in the human system, it exists for the benefit of the whole. The Catholicity of the Church implies this idea of solidarity whereby the strong help the weak and the rich come to the rescue of the poor. Never, perhaps, has the Church suffered so much from the wasting of energies. The torrent, if not directed, spends its energy on itself; turned into the mill race, every drop counts.

One of the great lessons the war has given to the world is the absolute necessity of centralized effort and the advisability of central organization rather than multiplying organizations. We are living in an age of efficiency through co-operation.

Fas est ab hoste doceri.—The lesson coming from our separated brethren should strike home. One has to go West to see the feverish activities of the different denominations in that new field. Ask the mission organizers of the various non-Catholic bodies how much money comes from the East to support the struggling Protestant churches of the West; visit their immense printing establishments which are producing and distributing the literature you will find on the table of the lonely Western settler; study these organizations which are supplying field secretaries, teachers, social workers to our foreign Catholic settlements, then you will begin to understand this word of Pius X.: "The strength of the enemy lies in the apathy of the good." The mass of evidence, which can be had by the simple reading of the non-Catholic missionary reports, as to their activities in Western Canada, is nothing short of staggering. What examples! What lessons! Should they not turn our apathetic Catholics into enthusiastic apostles, stir them into watchfulness and action? And what could we not do with more unity of action?

Two conditions make united action possible—uniform plan and authoritative leadership. It would be rather preposterous on our part to attempt to formulate what we could call a plan of campaign for our Western apostles. We wish only to submit a few suggestions which may help to group our scattered energies and bring rescue to the Church, particularly in the unorganized districts of Western Canada.

To readjust our methods to conditions as we find them means efficiency with the least waste of energy. Therefore, we claim that a "survey" of membership and conditions of the Catholic Church in unorganized districts is an absolute necessity. It is the only logical basis for true knowledge of conditions and for development. This "survey" will bring us into immediate contact with the fallen-away Catholics. As it is now, are we not too often waiting for the fallen-away to come to us? If the survey has proved essential in the solving of educational and social problems, why should it not commend itself in religious matters? Proselytizers—especially the English Biblical Society, with headquarters at Toronto and Winnipeg, have the survey of the West down to a science. Their map room in the Bible House of Winnipeg is a perfect religious topography of Western Canada. We are firm believers in what we would call the "Catholicization" of modern methods that have proved beneficial to any cause. "Without this survey and the grasp which it yields of the relative proportion of things, a vast waste of matter and energy alike is inevitable."

This Catholic survey of unorganized districts may appear to some as "a dream," a desk-policy of apostleship—as too modern, etc.[2] The only answer I can give are the facts and figures of the American Catholic Church Extension, whose work along similar lines proves their efficiency and high value.

The specific and ultimate object of the survey would be to keep Catholics who live out of the radius of parish life, in constant touch with the Church, its teaching, its sacraments and its authority. The mailing of Catholic literature pamphlets, devotional and controversial, and newspapers, the teaching of catechism by correspondence, as is practised in certain districts of Minnesota, the selection of teachers for foreign districts and of boys for higher education, the establishment of a central Catholic Bureau of information in each Province, which could serve as a clearing house and centre of Catholic activities, and other means of apostleship, these would be the natural consequences of the survey. Who cannot see what a help this would be to our scattered Catholics? A great help to keep the faith among the scattered home-steaders.

The service of an auto-chapel would bring them also, at least once a year, the benefit of the sacraments and the blessing of the priests' visit. For, let us not forget it, one family now lost to the Church means several families in the coming generation. This absence of contact with the Church has been for our scattered English-speaking Catholics especially, one of the great causes of the loss of faith.

And what about our mission to non-Catholics? We have the truth; are we doing enough, not only to keep it among our own, but to spread it among others? Are we aggressive enough? And still I hear the Master say: "And other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and shepherd" (Jo. X, 16). We must bring them back; they shall hear our voice. . . . On the strength of that command and of that promise should our policy not be more saintly aggressive? What an immense field awaits the zeal of true apostles! Nowhere more than in the West has absolute disintegration set in among the different denominations. The universal desire for Church Union is, in our mind, the best proof of our statement. The most elementary principles of Christianity, of a supernatural religion, have lost their grasp on the mind of the average Protestant Westerner. Nominally, he belongs to a denomination, in reality he belongs to none. And what are we doing to give them the faith?

A uniform plan of action, once adopted, requires for execution, an authoritative leadership, if desired results are expected. In the Church of God the Bishops are our authoritative leaders—Posuit Episcopos regere Ecclesiam Dei. In the ordinary life of the Church this authority in matters spiritual is delegated to and operates through the parish priests. The parish is with the diocese, the established unit of religious organization. For the work in unorganized districts, which is here the special subject of our attention, could there not be in each Province or in each diocese, four or five "Free Lances?" [3] Let them be diocesan missionaries, priests chosen by the Bishops because of their special fitness for this great work. They would be to the Church what the R.N.W. Mounted Police have been to the Northwest Territories, or what the itinerant preachers are to certain denominations in sparsely settled districts. Their mission would be to visit, preach, baptize, say Mass in the distant districts not visited by a parish priest. They would be the advance-guard of the Church throughout the land. During the winter months they could continue their work by attending to districts within reach of a railway. The religious Orders,—and they alone can more easily supply reserves and train subjects for this special work—the religious Orders surely will be able to enter into this field of missionary activity, at the same time protecting their subjects with the safeguards of the Rule as also of paternal vigilance and guidance. An itinerant "regional clergy" radiating from a centre where they are fortified by the advantages of common life, is one of the Bishop of Northampton's remedial suggestions among possible "new methods devised to meet new needs." This suggestion is to be found in his Lenten Pastoral of 1920.

The Church in the East, through the Catholic Church Extension Society, would gladly, if well informed on the matter, furnish the financial aid for the support of these "free lances"—and their apostolic activities. The Catholic Truth Society would gladly, contribute all the literature needed to spread the truth and to keep the fires of faith burning on our prairies. Grouping forces, co-ordination of efforts, is what we need most in Canada. In the rank and file of the Catholic laity treasures of enthusiasm, latent powers of energy go to waste because there is no leader to awaken and direct them. The policy of the Catholic Church Extension is to act on these long unspoken desires, to loosen the pent-up energies of the Catholic heart throughout the land.

The Specific Object of the Catholic Church Extension Society

Through its press, literature, auxiliary societies and various other activities, this apostolic society is ever trying to quicken among Catholics a profound sense of responsibility to the Church Universal. The welfare of our Western missions depends on how the Church in the East understands and shoulders its obligation.

By financial aid we do not only mean donations and contributions, here and there, from wealthy Catholics. What we have in view is the financial assistance of the Church in the East, as a whole, as a corporate body. Every Catholic in Canada must become more or less interested in "Home Missions" and be willing to do "his little bit." As the small fibrous roots are the feeders and strength of the tree, so also the small and continued donations of all Catholics in the East will be the support of our missions in the West. In the various Protestant denominations, for every dollar given to support of the local church another dollar goes to the "Home Mission Fund." At the last general Methodist Conference (Hamilton, 1918) that Church pledged eight million dollars ($8,000,000.00) for their missions in the next five years. With the enormous sums these various religious bodies receive from the East they support the non-Catholic institutions of higher education to be found in all cities of Western Canada, they distribute free of charge tons of literature throughout the prairie, they defray the expenses of their social workers, field secretaries, etc. Among the Catholics of hundreds of parishes does not the prevailing policy seem to be: "Charity begins at home"—and we may add, often ends there. When one has paid his pew-rent and his dues, bought a few tickets for a sacred concert or bazaar, thrown on the collection plate each Sunday a few coppers or a small piece of silver, he thinks he has accomplished all his duty to the Church. The vision of too many Catholics does not go beyond the boundaries of their parish or their diocese. Circumscribed in their views, they remain illiberal in their sympathies.

Floyd Keeler, a neo-convert to the Catholic Faith, made recently this most instructive statement. "Perhaps the greatest problem which the convert is the most surprised to find existing in the Catholic Church, is the problem why the average American Catholic is so supremely selfsatisfied and seems to have so little thought for the propagation of the Faith which he professes. Coming from a body which has had for many years a well-organized system of missionary propaganda and which, in spite of its many and grave doctrinal difficulties, is fairly well permeated with missionary spirit, it is a shock to find that within the Fold so little attention is paid to what really ought to be the very breath of life to its people, the Extension of the Kingdom of God on earth, the carrying out of our "Lord's Last Will and Testament." To find Catholics whose ideals are bound up within their own parishes, who possess no sort of vision of the world beyond, still lying "in darkness and in the shadow of death" and no concern over its redemption, is a phenomenon which is hard to explain."

"It distresses us more than we can tell to find those who are nourished at the breasts of the Bride of Christ, callous to Her charms, unmindful of Her privileges, thoughtlessly and grudgingly rendering their minimum of service, for we realize how Christ is thus being 'wounded in the house of His friends' and His Bride made to lose Her comeliness in the sight of men. But the Catholic press and the Catholic pulpit, fired with the zeal of this new apostolate can, and we believe will solve the problem."—("America," March 13, 1920.)

Our parishes and dioceses will never suffer from an increased zeal in the broader interests of the Universal Church.[4] There can be no conflict of interests in the Church of God, if seen from the proper point of view,—the glory of God and the salvation of souls. "It is because we have need of men and means at home that I am convinced we ought to send both men and means abroad. In exact proportion as we freely give what we have freely received will our works at home prosper and the zeal and number of our priests be multiplied. This is the test and the measure of Catholic life among us. The missionary spirit is the condition of the growth, and, if Faith is to extend at home it must be by our aiding to carry it abroad" (Card. Manning). Was it not while he was building the Cathedral of Westminster, that Card. Vaughn founded the "Mission Society?"

This missionary spirit has also a bearing on the spiritual welfare of the flock in which it is fostered. For those who would object that giving money to our Western Church is "carrying coals to Newcastle," we would state that the West now needs more the help of the East than at any other time. The organized parishes are indeed beginning to be self-supporting; but the work we have outlined in these pages, if it is to be done, has to be supported by the Catholics of Canada at large.

The spiritual aids will be the prayers, Masses, sacrifices of all kind offered for our Home Missions. Nothing strengthens faith and stimulates genuine piety, as prayers and sacrifices for the great cause of our missions. They are so disinterested, they reveal true love for our Blessed Lord.

Only a chosen few are called to go into the field at home and afar and reap the ripening harvest. But all are commanded by the Master to pray the Father for harvesters. This sublime apostleship of prayer is the privilege and duty of every Christian. Is there anything more instructive and more pathetic than the invitation of the Saviour to co-operate with Him in this great work of the Redemption. "And seeing the multitudes he had compassion on them: because they were distressed and lying like sheep that have no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples: the harvest indeed is great but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into the harvest." (Math. IX, 36, 37, 38.)

The Divine Master cannot but hear the prayer asking Him to send "labourers to the ripening harvest." And could we give better proof of devotion to Church and Country?

Great is the seriousness of the present hour, tremendous the task that confronts us after the war. Never has any generation in history been so freighted with the responsibilities of the future as ours is, marching home from the battlefields of Europe. We are living in stirring and changeful times. Nowhere in the Dominion of Canada will the period of reconstruction have more far-reaching effects than in the West. The after-war problems will meet there with rapid and very often radical solutions. To understand this issue that faces our country, to grasp it in all its breadth and fulness, should we not broaden our vision, readjust it, we would say, to the new scale of changing conditions? Only then will we be able to marshal our forces and throw the weight of Catholic principles into the solving of the social, economic and religious problems of the hour. "The Church cannot remain an isolated factor in the nation. The Catholic Church possesses spiritual and moral resources which are at the command of the nation in every great crisis. The message to the nation to forget local boundaries and provincialism is a message likewise to the Catholic Church. Parochial, diocesan and provincial limits must be forgotten in the face of the greater tasks which burden our collective religious resources." (Card. Gibbons.) Let us give to the people that broad, Catholic vision of our present duty to our country and to our Church. The broader the outlook, the deeper the insight. The measure of their vision will be the measure of their action. No leader can meet with success without a certain receptivity to work upon. This receptivity is formed by spreading ideas, by an educational propaganda.

It may take time before the vision struggles into consciousness and wins its way to the dominance of the mind. What we need is a systematized, continuous effort that will gradually crystalize that vision into a definite workable project. A flourish of trumpets and blaze of Catholic zeal, as we are accustomed to witness on the occasion of some special sermon and appeal by a missionary, will only prompt an act of passing generosity.

The special object of the Catholic Church Extension Society is to awaken the collective consciousness of the Catholic population and to give to Catholics that vision of their social responsibility and religious solidarity and to keep it, by its organization, in a healthy condition. It realizes that co-operation from the Church at large will exist and maintain itself only if preceded, accompanied and upheld by a strong and vigilant Catholic public opinion. In return public opinion, once created in the ranks of our Catholic laity, will make the Extension Society a live-wire, a dynamic force of the Church in Canada. Let us not forget, vision—and public opinion is the vision of the multitude—is the first and primary of constructive forces.

To have Catholic action we must first create a Catholic mind.

A publicity campaign, followed by a dominion-wide drive for funds, would be now in order. The spirit of giving and of giving for great causes is in the air. A campaign of that nature—we have seen it often during the war,—is in itself an education. It spreads information and arouses the sense of duty.

From the clearness, breadth and depth of that vision will spring the conquering spirit of united action. Forgetting then our lingual and racial differences that have created in the past among us so many unfortunate misunderstandings and have weakened our forces before the enemy, we will rise to the level of our faith, to the creative powers of true Catholicity.

The "Call of the West" has been heard. It comes to you with the burning problems of the present . . . praesentia tangens . . . and the vision of brilliant promises and heavy responsibilities of the future . . . furtra prospiciens.


[1] This Chapter formed the matter of a series of articles published in the "Catholic Register" of Toronto. The Catholic Church Extension Society republished them in pamphlet form with the following introduction by Archbishop McNeil.

"The author of this pamphlet has lived in the West and has felt—I was going to say—the need of Catholic co-operation, but that falls short of the reality. Co-operation among Catholics is more than a means to a missionary end. It is an essential part of Catholic life. Boundaries of jurisdiction are conveniences and means to an end. In the first centuries of the Christian era it was centres rather than circumferences that marked divisions of work and of jurisdiction; but, in any case, administrative divisions were never intended to be divisions of brotherhood. In places where we are well established we are inclined to look upon Christian brotherhood in an abstract way. In the West they feel it as a necessity of Catholic life, not only as a source of financial help, but as brotherhood in sympathy, interest, and mutual helpfulness. The West can help the East by its growing influence, and Catholics in the West can do their part in defence of Catholic ideals and Catholic institutions. The more we do for them the more they can do for us. Father Daly describes the Call of the West, and it is fittingly through Catholic Extension that the call is now made and will be answered."

[2] "The Universe" the great Catholic Weekly of England, had in its editorial notes the following remarks on this suggestion of ours:


The Catholic Church in Canada possesses a Home Missionary problem of the extent of which we can scarcely form an idea. In making his appeal from the West to the East of the vast Dominion, Father Daly, C.S.S.R., who has just issued a pamphlet on the subject through the Church Extension Press, Toronto, brings out some salient truths on the subject of co-operation and organization which Catholics all the world over can well take to heart and apply to themselves. "Two conditions (he says) made united action possible—uniform plan and authoritative leadership. To readjust our methods to conditions as we find them means efficiency with the least waste of energy, and acting on this principle Father Daly advocates a 'survey' of membership and conditions of the Catholic Church in unorganized districts as the one means of getting at lapsed Catholics. 'Too often,' he observes, 'we are waiting for the fallen away to come to us.' This is true indeed. Protestant proselytizers in the west of Canada have the whole 'survey' scheme worked out on a scientific basis. Father Daly is more willing to learn from them. "I am a firm believer," he writes, "in what I would call the Catholicization of modern methods that have proved beneficial in any cause." The problem of unorganized districts and of a scattered Catholic population in our own case is, of course, minute compared with that of Canada; but it is there, and sufficiently in evidence to justify the Redemptorist Father's "desk-policy of apostleship." There is no reason, in short, why the interorganization of the members of the most perfect organization in the world should be committed to a kind of spiritual rule of thumb."

[3] The following letter prompted by the reading of this very article was received by the President of the Church Extension, dated, March 14, 1919, at a point of Saskatchewan we know quite well; it is illustrative of conditions prevailing in many districts of our Great West:

Very Reverend and dear Father,—

I have just read your article in the Febr., 15 issue and I am so pleased with your suggestion for relieving the situation for scattered Catholics throughout the West that I must write my appreciation. I am sure that very few people in the East realize what a veritable necessity those Free Lances you spoke of are to so many Western people, or what a God-send those auto-chapels would be. Western homesteaders do not stray far from home for two very good reasons, lack of transportation facilities and lack of funds.

We live 12 miles from the church, that is my own family. The others live thirty-five and fifty miles away and up to this year we have had nothing but a waggon to travel in, and now those that live farthest away have still only a waggon. So you will understand that we have not made more than necessary trips or not many more. And I wonder if my brothers would make those, were it not for my mothers insistence. They are surrounded by such bad influences. It's not that it is a sectarian influence, but rather a total lack of religion altogether. The only things that matter greatly are the material things of this world. To confess yourself religious, especially Catholic, is to confess yourself old fashioned and to cause people to smile. You know that is harder to combat than bigoted opposition. Your plan to send out pamphlets would be appreciated by many—But above all we need the personal touch of a priest. We need it as our crops need rain, etc. . . .

[4] As an illustration of what in a simple and unostentatious way can be done by any parish in the mission cause the editor of the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith (N.Y.) refers to an invitation extended to him to attend a Christmas sale. It took place in a parish of the Brooklyn diocese on Dec. 3, 1919, the feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron of the mission cause. Thanks mainly to the efforts of an energetic lady, but with the consent and patronage of the pastor, a Xavirian Mission Circle had been formed. Within eighteen months after its organization the newly found circle had paid off a $500.00 mortgage for a heavily burdened priest in the South, had adopted eight abandoned children of the Chinese Missions, had sent 1,000 Mass intentions, was supporting seven catechists in Africa, India, and China, was educating a Chinese seminarian, had given 150 volumes to the parochial library of a bigoted section in the South, and was able then to place upon exhibition a number of sacred vessels that were to be forwarded as gifts to poor priests. "And did all these activities not interfere with your parochial work?" Mgr. Freri asked the pastor. "Not in the least"—was the answer—"My collections have never been larger." "EVEN PROTESTANTISM FINDS THAT HOME COLLECTIONS ARE IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO THE MISSION GIFTS."



Most touching in its divine simplicity, most sublime in its inspired lessons was the invitation of the Master to His Apostles: "Behold I say to you lift up your eyes and see the countries, for they are white, already to harvest," (John IV, 35)—As He stood by the well of Jacob, facing the slopes of the hills of Samaria, He pointed out to them the crowds that were hastening to listen to His Message and believe in His divine mission. The fields around lay desolate and lifeless, for it was then winter. "Do you not say," asks Jesus, "there are yet four months and then the harvest cometh? Behold I say to you lift up your eyes and see the countries for they are white already to harvest." This human harvest, of which the Master speaks, is but the prelude of that immense harvest of souls ever ripening under the rays of God's divine grace in the great field of this world. The Church, like Christ, also invites us to contemplate that waving harvest and to pray the Lord to send labourers into the field.

This divine invitation, the Catholic Church Extension Society makes its own, to plead the cause of our Home Missions. Pointing to our Western Provinces, to that great Dominion beyond the Lakes, that missionary organization says to every Catholic in the land: "The harvest is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he send labourers into the harvest."

The Catholic Church Extension Society has been founded in Canada, for the conservation and propagation of the Catholic Faith in our mission districts. Its very name, as we readily see, shows forth its object and explains its existence. Canada, as we all know, possesses vast areas, in her Western Provinces particularly, where the Church has not yet established the influence of her permanent organization. There, her children suffer from the prolonged absence of her teaching, of her sacraments, of her authority, and are struggling against the abiding presence of numerous, rich, aggressive, and unscrupulous proselytizers. Yet, on the vast stretches of prairie, where the lonely homesteader has just broken the virgin soil, amid the snows of the bleak North, by the rushing waters of the Fraser, the Mackenzie, the Peace, and the Saskatchewan Rivers, in the far distant valleys of the Rockies—the words of the Master are still a living reality. . . . "The fields are ready for the harvest and the workers are few." The Extension Society has been established in Canada to point out to our Catholic laity these fields where the harvest is waiting and to help to send labourers into them. Its sublime mission is to bridge the chasm which separates the East from the West. It is the binding and living link between the organized Church and the mission field. This sublime object of the Society makes it most worthy of our commendation and of your loyal and generous support.

Principle and policy are the basic ideas of organized action. If the principles upon which an organization rests are true and elevating, if the policy it advocates and which governs its activities is practical, easy, and attractive, the organization itself is bound to meet in time with an unlimited success. The higher the principles, the more inviting the policy, the more living and telling will be the resultant action. Therefore, to place before our readers the principles and policy of the Catholic Extension Society will no doubt help them to understand better its claims and respond more generously to its appeal.


The Kingdom of God comes upon earth through the Apostolate of the Church. "As the Father sent me, I also send you," said Christ to His Apostles, and to all who were to take their place in succeeding generations. For, these words of Christ created the Catholic Apostolate and maintain it. His words, indeed, are words of life.

The Apostolate of the Church is an absolute necessity, the very condition of Her existence and progress. The Catholic Church Extension is one of the most beautiful expressions of that Apostolate, for its object is, as we stated, the conservation and propagation of the Faith in the Mission districts of Canada.

The principles upon which the activities of this Society are based may be reduced to two: the doctrinal and the historic:

1. Doctrinal Principle.—All appeals for sympathy and help in the great cause of Catholic Missions rest on one of the most fundamental doctrines of our Faith, the Catholicity of the Church. "The Church Catholic," says the great theologian Suarez, "means the Church Universal—Ecclesiam esse catholicam, idem est ac esse universalem" (Disput. de Ecclesia IX., sect. VIII., No. 5). This universality of Christ's Church implies the idea of solidarity, whereby in her living and indivisible unity She is always and everywhere the same. The Church, like a perfect vital organism, is a divine organic whole, solidly constituted, identical to itself, and in all its parts, throughout time and space. The whole is reflected or rather found in each part, and each part reflects and possesses the whole. The Catholicity of the Church is but the expansion of its Unity. It stands therefore as its permanent and outward manifestation. Should we now wonder why the Church of Christ is called Catholic? We name things and persons by that characteristic feature which conveys to our mind the most accurate concept of them. The very name of the Church is, as you see, an ever living proof of her divinity. And of that name, we may well say what is said of the name of Jesus . . . signum cui contradicetur . . . it will be forever "a sign of contradiction."

The moral aspect of this solidarity of the Church is responsibility. The Church at large is responsible for each particular diocese and parish, and each individual diocese and parish is in return responsible for the Church universal. This responsibility is to be shared by every Catholic. And as by its Catholicity the Church overcomes the two great barriers to all human power, time and space, so also should every Catholic manifest in the affairs of the Church universal an interest equally as great as that he shares in his own particular parish. "Co-operation among Catholics," as Archbishop McNeil justly remarked, "is more than a means to a missionary end. It is an essential part of Catholic life. Boundaries of jurisdiction are conveniences and means to an end. In the first century of the Christian era, it was centres rather than circumferences that marked divisions of work and jurisdiction; but in any case administrative divisions were never intended to be divisions of brotherhood. The divisions of the Church into dioceses and parishes are to further increase, and not to weaken or destroy its Catholicity."

And what we say of these divisions of space, may also be said of those of time. As the glorious memories of the divine history of the Church belong to each individual Catholic, so also should the possibilities of her future destinies in our country and throughout the world, preoccupy his thoughts and affections in the present.

This is one of the most comprehensive and most pregnant aspects of the Church. It throws open the whole world to the zeal of every individual Catholic. Wherever the tents of Israel are, there he finds his home, be it in the wilds of Africa, or on the islands of Oceanica, under the scorching sun of the tropics or in the snows of the lonely North. But as we are more closely united with those among whom Divine Providence has cast our lot in this world, our home-missions have the first claim on our zeal and generosity. For, according to St. Thomas Acquinas, the more or less close relationship with our neighbor is the measure of the intensity of our love and devotedness.

We now understand what the Church Extensions' claim means for the missions of Canada. The intention of the Society, as we may readily see, is not to limit our zeal to any national issue, but rather, to develop more easily the missionary spirit and direct its first effort to the welfare of our own countrymen by the consideration of our own wants.

2. Historic Principle.—The lesson of facts is very often more striking than that of doctrine. They are here the concrete expression, in the various nations, and through the course of centuries, of those fundamental principles we have just considered. It is indeed a law of Catholic History, that the more Catholic a nation is, the more apostolic, the more missionary it will prove itself to be. The missionary spirit is the test of Catholicity, the abiding proof of its solidarity.

The history of Catholic nations justifies this statement; their zeal for the propagation of the faith will explain their rise and downfall in the eyes of the Church. Ireland is a classical illustration of this point. Poor, persecuted, downtrodden, the land of the Gael still remains the seminary of the world's apostles. The foreign missions always appealed to the Irish people and "the limits of the earth have heard the voice" of its zealous missionaries. Does not France, notwithstanding the persecution of the Church by its government, still remain the great missionary country of the world? She sends more missionaries and gives more monetary aid to the "Propagation of the Faith" than any other Catholic nation. England's return to Catholicism is most promising, for her converts of yesterday are already in the field afar. The awakening of that same apostolic spirit in the Church of the United States is the most convincing sign of the great strides Catholicity is making in that land of Liberty.

This unwritten law which prevails throughout the history of Catholic nations and expresses so forcibly and so persistently the doctrinal principle of which we spoke, justifies the claims of the Catholic Extension and gives strength to its appeal.

Such are the two principles upon which rest the Extension Society—dogma and history. They strike the very bed-rock of our Faith. But if its principles are sublime and inspiring—its policy is simple and effective.


The policy of an organization is the direction of its activities, the plan of campaign for the furtherance of its principles, the line of action in the realization of its ideal. The Policy of the Church Extension is twofold: education and action. To give to all the Catholics of our country, an accurate knowledge of conditions in our various mission fields, to develop in them the true missionary spirit, to make them think in terms of the Church Universal . . . this is its educational policy. To organize in every parish a branch of the Society and through it to enlist the sympathy and receive the spiritual and financial assistance of every member, to develop, co-ordinate and direct the missionary activities of all our dioceses in favor of our home missions; in other words, to promote efficiency through organization, centralization of efforts with the least waste of energy . . . this is its policy of action.

1. Policy of Education.—The acuteness of our sense of duty depends largely on the breadth and depth of our vision. This principle explains the importance of the Catholic Extension educational policy. Through its official organ, "The Catholic Register," by means of pamphlets, leaflets, and lectures and sermons, the Society is most intent on giving to the Catholics of Canada, first hand knowledge of conditions in our mission districts. We are perfectly convinced that when all our Catholics will have fully realized the truth of these conditions, they will immediately understand their responsibilities and fulfill generously their duty. But what is that "call of the West" which the Catholic Church Extension is sounding like a cry of alarm through the country? You all know, what I would call, "the Romance of the West."

A few decades ago Western Canada was but a bleak, lifeless plain, extending from the Great Lakes to the foothills of the Rockies, dotted here and there with the Indian wigwam, the roving herds of buffaloes, the solitary chapel of the Catholic missionary, and the lonely posts of the Hudson Bay fur-traders. Suddenly under the magic steel of the plough, that immense waste of land woke up from its age-long slumber. The desolate prairie became within a few years the greatest granary of the world. The Indian trail gave place to transcontinental highways, to those "long, long, and winding," steel trails that have led the youth of our Country and the exiles of Europe "into the lands of their dreams." These trans-Canada roads have conquered distances and linked the Atlantic to the Pacific. They may well be considered as the arteries of our Dominion; through them indeed flows rapid and warm the blood of our national life and in them one can hear, as it were, the pulsations of its great and noble heart. The transcontinental lines are responsible for the birth and phenomenal growth of our Prairie Provinces.

What are the conditions of the Church in these new and promising Provinces? It is not the time, nor is it the place to discuss errors or absence of policy that have crippled the Church's work and growth in that period of rapid transformation. We take facts as they are now. The Church in Western Canada to hold its ground, to extend its work and develop its institutions, has an absolute need of the help of the East. The barrier of immense distances to which are added, for long months, unfavorable climatic conditions; diversity of nationality, variety of racial ideals, differences of language, customs and traditions; absence of Catholic traditions and a prevailing atmosphere of unbelief and irreligion; such are, in a few words, the tremendous obstacles against which the Western Church in its infancy has to contend.

This vision of distress, the Extension wishes to place before every Catholic in Canada; this call for help, it wishes him to hear.

But particularly the future of the Church in these Provinces forms the subject of the Extension's preoccupations. We all realize the vast possibilities of our Western Provinces, and the important part they must of necessity play in the future affairs of our Dominion. The Church's influence then will be what we make it by our efforts now, and its progress will be in exact proportion to the amount of our foresight.

This responsibility of the present and the future, the Church Extension preaches to all in season and out of season. Like the beacon by the sea, it is ever turning its revolving lights over the immense uncharted ocean of our Western missions and hopes that with time, every Catholic in Canada will take his course on them. For, let us not forget it, if we do not take care of our mission districts, others will, and that to the detriment and loss of the Church.—Fas est ab hoste doceri! It is permissible, says the proverb, to receive a lesson from an enemy. Only those who have worked out West on the missions know to what extent unscrupulous and most aggressive proselytizers are always on the ground, ever at work among our people. They are digging broad and deep trenches around the settlements of our Catholic foreigners, particularly Ruthenians, draining to their profit the dormant energies of the new Canadian. The invasion is slow but sure, the leakage, great and continual. This lesson that comes from the tremendous activities of the various Protestant denominations should strike home more forcibly. The more stinging the lash, the more sudden the rebound.

This educational policy of the Church Extension appeals to the Catholic mind and tells it something it desires to know. It awakens that latent Catholicity which Baptism has given us and on which the narrow limitations of time and space have no claim. This education of our Catholic laity in the value and necessity of the missionary spirit, in the perfect knowledge and true appreciation of its character in the Church of God, is the end and result of the Extension policy. To make that spirit the inspiring, guiding and testing power of Catholic life, is the definite aim of its educational work, of its publicity campaign. When our laity will have absorbed the lesson, it will be ready for action. This knowledge will awaken our sense of responsibility and prompt our sympathetic support. This leads us to say a word on the Society's policy of action.

2. Policy of Action.—Vision resolves itself into action. When the mind sees deep and clear, the heart feels warm and generous, the will acts promptly and decisively. As the spark leaps bright and sharp from the silent battery, ignites the fuel and drives the piston, so will a broad vision give a generous impulse to action. You readily see the value of an educational policy, and its intimate connection with that of action.

Action to be efficient and lasting must be organized. Grouping of forces, co-ordination of efforts, are what we need most in the Church of Canada. In the rank and file of the laity, hidden treasures of enthusiasm, latent powers of energy go to waste, because there is no leader to awaken them, or if aroused, no organization to direct them. The policy of the Catholic Extension is to bring to vigorous activity these long slumbering desires, to give an effective vent to the pent up energies of the Catholic heart, to group all Catholic missionary work for the conservation and propagation of the Faith in our mission districts.

Have we not been working too much as separate units? Has not our zeal been limited by the boundaries of our parishes and dioceses? What activities have been absorbed by side-issues, while the great cause of the Church at large should have occupied our attention! We were deliberating . . . and the West was being lost to us! The time has come to rally around the Church in our mission fields and prove ourselves worthy of our name—"Christian" and our surname—"Catholic." The policy, therefore, of the Extension is to enlist the organized effort of every parish, of every diocese in a great missionary movement, and to throw the weight of the Catholic influence of the East into the immense field of our Western missions. It is not for the promotion of any project, for the benefit of any particular section of the Church in Canada, that the Extension Society exists. True genuine Catholicity is the only inspiration of its activities.

This united action will manifest itself first and above all in prayer. The preservation of the Faith, and the conversion of souls are supernatural works depending primarily and in the final analysis on the grace of God. Never has it been more necessary to emphasize this trait of the Catholic Aspostolate. Confronted with elaborate schemes of finance and the co-operative action of various denominations, we may take lessons from them, but should never forget that there is something more fundamental; we mean, the grace of God. Our prayer—the prayer of every child, the prayer of every man and woman within the fold, the prayer of every nun and priest, should be the prayer of the Master to the Heavenly Father: "Send harvesters into the fields!" How powerful should not that prayer be! How strong a binding link between the East and the West!

But prayer, like faith, without works is dead. The Extension, therefore, not only solicits our prayers, but also our help to meet the needs of our home-missions—Men and money, financial aid and apostolic vocations, these are the needs of the hour. Money to build chapels, schools, orphanages, hospitals; money to help the Catholic press, the spreading of Catholic Literature; money to forward the great and vital cause of higher education. This organized financial assistance of the Church in the East, as a whole, as a corporate body, is the best expression of the reality and sincerity of Catholic solidarity. To boast of our beautiful churches and sumptuous cathedrals in the East and to leave our priests in the West without a decent chapel to say Mass denote either painful ignorance of actual facts or the fallacy of our Catholicity.

Great is the need of money, but greater still the need of men. The principal work of the Extension is to foster, develop and bring to fruition missionary vocations for the West. Burses are founded to assist young men in their studies, and in a few years, it is the hope of the Extension to be able to send to every diocese of the West zealous harvesters for the harvest that is awaiting them beyond the Lakes. Could we be invited to share a more noble task than to contribute to the education of the heralds of the Gospel, of the ambassadors of Christ to that Western Kingdom of ours?

Let us conclude.

These are the principles on which rests the Church Extension Society; this is the policy it pursues. The adoption of these principles and the furtherance of this policy will, we are confident, develop the true type of the Catholic Laity. The parish, its works, its pastor, will be the first to benefit by this missionary spirit of the laity. Long enough has the priest, the missionary, laboured alone in the harvest field and borne the heats of the day; long enough have but a few loyal and generous souls shouldered the burden of the missionary work in Canada; long enough have our Catholics limited their zealous efforts to the confines of their parish or their diocese. The time has come for every Catholic in Canada to answer the call of the Master, to take his place in the harvest field, to share the responsibilities of the present and prepare a glorious future for the Church in our great and prosperous Dominion.

The appeal that comes to the Church of Canada from the Catholic Extension is straightforward. It needs no apology. It stands its ground on its own merits. It is not—let us never forget it—an appeal to our charity. It is a pressing call to accomplish a sacred duty, a timely warning not to neglect it. And indeed, active co-operation in the work of Extension is, we repeat, an unfaltering belief in the reality of our Catholicism. It knits our soul to the very soul of the Church, our heart to Her heart.

Strengthened by these highest motives of Catholic Solidarity and Christian Charity we should give joyfully and generously. Let us levy a tax on our income, no matter how small it may be, remembering the fiduciary character of our earthly possessions. Let us give our time and our services to this noble Cause. Let us give lovingly and willingly our children to the great harvest, if it be God's will to call them to His service. But above all let us pray that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ may come in our beloved Country through the Extension of His divine Church.

[1] This chapter formed the substance of a Sermon preached on "Extension Sunday" in St. Finnan's Cathedral, Alexandria, Ont.



Militancy is the characteristic feature of God's Church on earth. New dangers, fresh struggles await Her at every turn of the road in Her onward march to eternity. Assailed from within by her own children, attacked from without by bitter enemies, she is ever working out through the frailties of human nature her sublime destiny. Not of this world, but passing through it, She has necessarily to suffer from the inherent weakness of her children. It is the human side of the divine Church. Those who would be scandalized at this ever renascent warfare against the Catholic Church, in all times and in all countries, should remember that this hall-mark of true Christianity is the fulfillment of Christ's promise and the realization of his prophecy.

In this great firing line of the Church militant every Catholic has his place. His marked duty is to make the divine triumph over the human in his individual life and through it—no matter how limited his circle of influence may be—in the great life of the Church and in society at large. He should make his own the various problems confronting the Church in his country and help, within the sphere of his activities, to offer a happy solution.

Two great problems now face the Church in Canada, and tax to the utmost the wisdom of its leaders: The race problem and the Ruthenian problem. In many centres the former has weakened the principle of authority and paralyzed our efforts of co-operation; the latter means a tremendous leakage through which the Church, particularly in Western Canada, is losing every day an important and vital factor.

The race problem has always existed and will always exist in the Church of God. This problem is imbedded in human nature. It plunges its roots into the very depths of the human heart. Language is the tap-root which gives life and vigor to its various manifestations. Language is indeed the best expression and highest manifestation of the race. The race problem therefore is generally complicated with the language problem.

The Catholic Church has always respected the racial feelings and the language of nations, for they are based on natural law, and natural law is nothing else but the expression of the fundamental relations constituted by God. Yet history can tell what the Church had to suffer from racial and language differences. We all agree on principles, but often differ on policies. The angle of vision varies; facts are misrepresented; ideals misinterpreted; feeling and not judgment is appealed to, in these racial conflicts. But it is not our intention to deal with this great problem. Only let us ever remember the words of Benedict XV. in his letter "Comisso Divinitus" to the Catholics of Canada. He sees in our divisions a source of weakness for the Church, a subject of scandal for our separated brethren and a cause for him of sadness and anxiety. Let us therefore hope that the wishes of the Common Father of Catholicity will soon be realized and that the Church in Canada will see the clouds of misunderstanding lift and a brighter day break on the horizon.

The problem to which I would draw again the attention of our Catholics throughout the land is one that has been frequently of late placed before the Catholic public. But as its aspects are ever changing and its importance growing, I would wish to throw light on some new factors at play in this momentous issue.

* * * * * *

Immigration has brought to the Church of Canada many serious and knotty problems. Among these stands first and foremost the Ruthenian question. Only those who have followed the various developments of this perplexing problem and are fully aware of the unceasing activities of the various Protestant denominations among Catholic foreigners, grasp their meaning and understand their importance to the Church. The average Catholic, we are sorry to say, is not awakened to the reality of this live issue and fails therefore to meet his responsibilities.

Over 250,000 Catholic Ruthenians, of the Greek rite, have settled in Canada within the past decade or so. They are scattered throughout the length and breadth of our immense Dominion. You will find them in the very heart of our large industrial centres, from Sydney to Vancouver, and in compact groups on our Western prairies. The vast majority of these Ruthenians belong to the Catholic Church and are our brethren in the Faith. To protect them against unscrupulous proselytizers, to help them to keep the faith in the trying period of their acclimatization to our Canadian national life, in a word, to make the Church of Canada assume the proper responsibility which Catholic solidarity imposes on all her children in regard to this new factor of Catholicity in our country, . . . this is the Ruthenian problem as it presents itself to us with its various aspects and critical issues. Problems of the moral and religious order are of a very complex nature. Principles remain but circumstances change with the fancies of imagination, the impulse of passion, the whims of the will. This explains how, in the great and everlasting war between right and wrong, truth and error, the line of battle is ever shifting, the methods of attack ever changing. Various therefore have been the phases of the problem under discussion. But, we presume, they may all be related to two periods: the period of settlement and the period of assimilation.

The Period of Settlement

When a few years ago our shores were heavily invaded by the rising tide of an intense immigration from the British Isles and Continental Europe, the Church had to face conditions heretofore unknown. Without doubt, the most complex in its elements, the most serious in its consequences, was the Ruthenian issue. It was a case of providing for the spiritual wants of over a quarter of a million souls. The dearth of priests, the difference of rite, the difficulty of language, and the great number of Ruthenians, created for the Church an almost insurmountable barrier which nothing short of a miracle could otherthrow [Transcriber's note: overthrow?]. This sudden and large influx of Catholics belonging to the Greek rite, into a Country where the Latin Church alone prevailed, constitutes a fact that has never been seen before in the history of the Church. Thousands and thousands of these Greek Catholics were scattered through the prairies; roaming flocks without shepherds, a prey to ravening wolves. Heresy, schism, atheism, socialism and anarchy openly joined hands to rob these poor people of the only treasure they had brought with them from the old-land,—their Catholic Faith. Presbyterian ministers were seen to celebrate among them "bogus masses"; schismatic emissaries tried to bribe them with "Moscovite money"; fake bishops were imposing sacrilegious hands on out-laws and perverts; traitors from among their ranks, like Judas, bartered away their faith for a few pieces of silver; a subsidized press,—"The Canadian Farmer" and "The Ranok"—was ever at work, playing on their patriotism and exploiting their racial feelings, to cover with ridicule their faith and pious traditions. The public school became in the hands of the enemy the most powerful weapon. Government itself, through its various officials, often went out of its way to thwart the efforts of our missionaries.

It is not without poignant emotion that we have followed, at close range, this struggle for the mastery of the Ruthenian soul. We hardly know which we should admire the more, the faithfulness of the simple-minded Ruthenian, or the devotedness of the few missionaries who, for the last fifteen years, have lived, worked and died among them. We all remember that cry of distress, that demand for help which came from Archbishop Langevin in favor of his Ruthenian children. It broke upon the land as a clarion call and its voice was heard in the first Plenary Council of Quebec. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate—the pioneer missionaries of the West, the Basilians, the Redemptorists, and a few French-Canadian secular priests, were the first to answer the call. They divided among themselves that immense field of labour. God alone knows what sacrifices, what heart-burnings, what hours of discouragement and loneliness, were theirs in that strenuous period of settlement when the wilderness began to blossom, when homesteads were seen to spring up on the bare soil. We have a faint idea of these difficulties when we read the "Memoir: 'Tentative de Schisme et d'heresie au milieu des Ruthenes de l'Ouest Canadien," of Father Delaere, C.SS.R., (1908), and Father Sabourin's pamphlet, "Les Ruthenes Catholiques" (1909).

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