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Date of Award

2-1974

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

Supervisor

George P. Grant

Language

English

Abstract

1. Scope of the Study

The-purpose of this thesis is to provide an in-depth study of those opinions of Pierre Vallières which deal with the place . which the Roman Catholic Church has in the history of Quebec. In the course of this study, some examination will be made into the opinions of some other thinkers who have written about Quebec. These people's views are important to the extent that they serve to help further the point of the thesis which is to explicate the position of Pierre Vallières.

The secondary material will help to establish in the reader's mind the over-all scope and nature of the topic under study. In a sense, it provides background information to Vallières' own thoughts. This material will indicate the complexity of the topic, and will give a clearer picture of that material of Vallières which is examined. In addition, these views will, in many ways, provide a contrast to those of Pierre Vallières, thereby giving to the reader a basis of comparison between the ideas of others and the ideas of Vallières.

I will pay greatest attention to the writings of Pierre Vallières, specifically his first book, Nègres blanks d'Amèrique. This particular book deals more with the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec than any of his other writings, including his second and only other book, L'urgence de choisir. Because of this fact, only minor attention will be given to Vallières writings other than Nègres blanks d'Amèrique. From those writings which are available, Nègres blanks d'Amèrique stands out as the prime source with regards to Pierre Vallières position on the Roman Catholic Church·in Quebec.

2. Purpose of the Study

Why is it important at this time to do a study of this type which deals with the opinions of someone like Pierre Vallières particularly as they pertain to the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec? There are two basic reasons which provide the answer to this question: (1) The Roman Catholic Church has always been a most important force in the development of French Canada. This is reflected in the strong influence it has had on the social conditions in Quebec. This religious institution more than any other significant organization has determined the type of culture -- including language, religion -- which the Québécois have always thought of as their own. In addition, it has been a most powerful force in determining the political developments in Quebec. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church should be examined because it has been central to the development of various aspects of French Canadian life. (2) The views of Pierre Vallières are particularly important because of the significant role he has played in the movements of protest -- in both the religious and political spheres -- which are fermenting in present day Quebec. Pierre Vallières -- the man's ideas, and, as well, his lived-world involvement -- represents a model of the forces of change that have affected Quebec. For one thing, he represents a new generation of French Canadians whose ideas, beliefs and customs are very different from those held by past generations. Many members of the new generation look to Pierre Vallières as the one who most clearly expresses the ideas which they hold to be true -- this was especially true during the fifties and sixties which were the decades of most turbulent ferment and change.

In Nègres blancs d'Amérique, Vallières integrates a condemnation of the traditional societal patterns in Quebec with a condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. By doing so, he states what many Québécois believe to be true about their own society. Those Québécois who have turned away from the R.oman Catholic Church and have opted for ways which are basically secular and, at times, anti-clerical, often identify with the opinions expressed by Pierre Vallières. Indeed, it also seems to be true that many Québécois who continue to believe in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church have come to identify with much which Pierre Vallieres states concerning, Quebec. In some ways, Nègres blancs d'Amérique can be viewed as a handbook for these various types of dissidents, for the changing attitudes regarding traditional ideas, beliefs and customs are reflected in the pages of this book.

Thus, the views of Pierre Vallières, which are concerned with a number of topics pertinent to Quebec and her history, but, above all, with the. religious and political spheres of activity, are important because they are in a broad way representative of the beliefs of many contemporary Québécois.

To examine the thoughts of Pierre Vallières is a relevant and important task, since these·thoughts are pertinent in a central way to the over-all pattern of behaviour which the Quebecois of today are coming to adopt as their own. Vallières and others like him are rebelling against a strong force of traditionalism which has had a great influence on the character of Quebec for so many years. This traditionalism has, in large measure, placed the Roman Catholic Church at its centre to the extent that the Church has become the guiding force of the tradition. The importance which the Roman Catholic Church has had in Quebec is reason enough for a study of that role. To do so through the eyes of someone like Pierre Vallières is all the more valuable since in many ways it involves a bringing together of the old and the new. The old, in this case, is the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec, while the new concerns those citizens of modern-day Quebec who express their reaction to the Roman Catholic Church in secular political terms. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Times} span.s1 {font: 9.0px Helvetica} span.s2 {font: 9.5px Helvetica}

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