Can Traditional Societies Survive the Power of Modernity?
Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec, in a remarkably frank interview, recently gave official confirmation to what has long been an open secret—the devastating decline of the Catholic Church in French Canada and the secularization of its culture, to the point where only immigrants bring a vital religious presence to that culture.
Visitors to Quebec Province are continually reminded—in guidebooks and historical material—of the Silent Revolution that occurred there during the 1960s, a combination of political separatism and the repudiation of traditional values, including an almost complete rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church.
Over the decade of the 1960s, church attendance declined precipitously (it is now about five percent), the birth rate fell to one of the lowest in the world, and every kind of sexual license was openly celebrated. The result is surreal—historic churches and streets named for saints are ubiquitous, but the soul has gone out of the body.
Quebec separatism at first seemed to be the Catholic side of Canadian society asserting itself against the Protestant side, but the fact that the moral revolution occurred in tandem with political separatism was not coincidental. Nationalism has often served as a conscious substitute for religion, and the more the Québécois asserted their independence from the Canadian Protestant establishment, the less Catholic they became. (Christians should be wary of the cult of “ethnicity”—costumes, music, language, cuisine—because it often serves precisely to fill the vacuum created by the abandonment of belief.)
Read the entire article on the Touchstone Magazine website (new window will open).