Quebec’s Demographic Demise

Quebec IslamQuebec is back in the news, this time with a report of its death-spiral of a birth rate.  It seems Quebec women by and large do not want to have children, or at least not more than 1.6, on average, per woman.  This is well, well, below the requisite 2.1 just to maintain a stable population, and that is presuming good times with no major disasters, plagues, famines or other evils.


The government has tried bribing women to have children with generous government subsidies, but that did not work.  It seems one must want to have children to have children.  The solution currently proposed, as it is in many other regions suffering population demise, is to increase immigration.  In Quebec, however, preference is given to those who speak French.  Unfortunately, the traditional French countries, France, Belgium and so on, have their own demographic problems, and are not emigrating anyone much of anywhere.  So, most of the immigrants come from regions that, ah, do not share Quebec values and have trouble assimilating.


As Universté de Montreal demographer Marc Termotte drily and cryptically stated:


The pool of French immigrants is not France or Belgium or Switzerland,” he said. “It’s French Africa, the Maghreb and sub-Saharan, and there are cultural and economic implications to this.


In other words, the immigrants are from Islamic countries, former colonies., and most of them end up in Montreal, in fact in one particular neighbourhood of the city.  There is strength in concentrating one’s numbers.


There is a lot packed into M. Termotte’s ‘cultural and economic implications’.  The unemployment rate amongst immigrants is about double the general population (probably since they cannot get government jobs), and they maintain their own Islamic culture, and not that offered to them by the moribund Quebecois culture falling apart around them.


Do the Quebeckers really think that they can import vast armies of young Muslim men who will work and toil to keep their ageing population well-entrenched in their government pensions and retirement plans?  Will they maintain the Quebecois culture, the music, language, literature, family life, churches, which originally derived from their Catholicism, but is now unhinged, unmoored, without foundation and purpose?


Much has been written about the demise of Quebec, from a bastion of Catholic culture to the basket case of a socialist failed state, supported by federal transfer payments, indebting Canadians for many generations to come.


Well, that may be part of the problem:  For Quebec does not seem interested in future generations, and is content to live in the present moment, ageing semi-cultured bon vivants sipping wine and artificially imposing French signage, all the while their future slips away as they slip into a bitter and regret-filled old age.  Demography is destiny, and that destiny lies in the hands of those who are doing the hard, sacrificial work of having the children who will carry civilization forward.


It is sad, for I have great love and admiration for Quebec, enjoy the French language and culture, and it would be sad to see the world bereft of les belles filles of la belle province.


But unless those belles filles can be convinced to have more beaux bébés, only really possible by a rediscovery of their religious roots, it is sadly au revoir, Quebec.

March for Life 2016

march for life


This  Thursday is the 17th annual March for Life, commemorating Trudeau Sr.’s to demonstrate our commitment to life in a visible, public way.  People debate about the value of such demonstrations, especially as they are comically, one might say conspiratorially, under-represented in the media.


CBC, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star:  What March?  Oh, yeah, those few radicals who get together every year…


The main value to my mind is spiritual, to unite in prayer and common purpose for an end to the culture of death, and to promote the culture of life.  Of course, it is also social, to catch up with people one has not seen for a long time, or to meet new friends who share common principles.


So, if you can, make the trek out to Parliament Hill on Thursday, and make your presence count, at least in the sight of God.

Of Muslim Mayors, Fire and Brimstone

fires of londonBy the time you read this, London (the one in England) will have elected a new mayor.  The residents did not have much of a choice:  A Muslim, raised in Britain, of Pakistani lineage, or a multi-millionaire playboy kicked out of Eton for smoking pot.  Not a surprise, that London would eventually end up with an Islamic mayor, given that in many regions of Britain the most common newborn name is Mohammed (of various spellings).  The choice is symbolic:  The weakness of the West symbolized in the playboy, who has never had to work a day in his life.  And the Muslim, whose father was a bus driver, who helped put his son through law school, and, insofar as one still can nowadays in our socialist system, worked his way up through the ranks.  Perhaps the Islamic Europe envisioned in Houllenebecq’s dystopic novel Submission was more prophetic than even my pessimistic mind thought.


And speaking of tough choices, it looks as though it’s going to be Trump versus Hillary next November.  Blowhard reality TV star who says, and does, whatever comes into his fevered, billionaire mind, versus a woman with principles about as diametrically opposed to Catholic ones as one can imagine.  Ted Cruz, like him, love him or hate him, I think had it right in his farewell speech:  America may well be headed for some kind of abyss.  What kind of hell-esque scenario remains to be seen.


And speaking of the inferno, the wildfires continue to rage in the region of Fort McMurray.  As we know from the Catechism, nothing is by chance in God’s providence, so there is some meaning in this apocalyptic scenario.  Many are blaming, guess what, climate change, as this shrill headling in the New Yorker makes about as clear as one might want:  Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change.  Hot and dry conditions?  But one might think that if CO2 is causing  a greenhouse effect, it would be hot and humid.  But what do I know?  Are they implying that ‘Mother Nature’, who, like some Greek nemesis, chose the oil-producing centre of Canada to call down her wrath?  The climate zealots seem to get more religious everyday.  Maybe some eco-terrorist started the blaze, just to blame Mother Nature, like the bored 18 year old firefighter in BC who started fires just to have something to put out, a phenomenon more common than one might think.


We should pray that people are kept safe, along with as much property as possible.


And speaking of life, today is the anniversary of Tim Bosma’s death, the Ancaster father who was selling his truck on-line, climbed in with two shady-looking prospective buyers, and never returned.  The two men are charged with shooting him point-blank, in a bizarre attempt to steal the vehicle.  The lives of these two sexually-deviant spoiled-brat hoodlums and their pathetic girlfriends, whether guilty or not, makes for depressing reading, and says much about modern Canada that they not only survive, but thrive in our enabling milieu, and still want more.  You may want to arm yourself if you plan on selling anything on Kijijii.


But hope:  Today is also the feast of Saint Francois de Laval (+1708), the first bishop of Canada, a saintly ascetical man who lived for the salvation of souls, and whose original diocese spanned much of eastern Canada and the United States.  The souls were not that numerous back then, but he laid the spiritual foundation for the millions who would move to this land from Europe and elsewhere. His remains lie in the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Quebec City, the oldest church north of the Spanish colonies in Florida and New Mexico.  We should pray to him for a renewal of faith in this country, and for a spirit of courage and counsel for our bishops, as we also begin the oldest novena in the church, to the Holy Spirit, counting down the days to Pentecost.


Saint Francois, prie pour nous! 


Veni sancte Spiritus! 

Athanasius, the Iota, and the Homoousion

athanasiusToday is the memorial of one of the most heroic bishops in the history of the Church, the late, great Saint Athanasius (+373), a foundational Eastern Doctor, along with Basil,  Gregory Nazianzen and Ambrose.  He was the hero of Bd. John Henry Cardinal Newman, who wrote erudite and engaging essays on Athanasius and his battle with Arianism, and it was in part the example of Athanasius that brought the great Victorian from his compromise via media Anglicanism to full Roman Catholicism.


Athanasius’ life was full, consecrated bishop of the great see of Alexandria in 328, while still very young (some even dispute whether he was of the licit then-canonical age of 30), was one of the main influences at the Council of Nicaea in 325 held against Arianism, and the Patriarch continued a lifelong struggle against the heresy and the Emperors who held to the heresy.  He left a vast corpus of profound writings, still very readable today, the most famous perhaps being his treatise De Incarnatione, on the Incarnation.


And it is likely for his devotion and steadfastness to the full truth of the Incarnation that Athanasius is best remembered, especially his role in defining this truth at the Nicene Council against the pernicious heresy of Arius, which denied, however subtly, the full divinity of Christ.  Athanasius was adamant that Christ truly was God, of the same ‘substance’ or ‘being’ as the Father, as we recite in the Creed that derives from this Council:  “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father”.


It is this term ‘consubstantial’ (gladly retranslated from the previous vague and milquetoast ‘one in being’) with which the name Athanasius will forever be linked.  In his own Greek tongue, it was homo-ousios, of the ‘very same substance’.  The Arians wanted to add just one iota, and would gladly have accepted homoi-ousios, that Christ was similar to the Father, as a compromise.


Not exactly false, one might say, but not exactly true either, and Athanasius knew that the whole future of the Church depended on the clarity gained by rejecting that one iota.  Either Christ was (is) God, or He was not.  He convinced the Fathers of the Council and more importantly (as things were back then) the Emperor Constantine.  The truth won out, at least in the Church’s official teaching, even if the Arians battled on for centuries to come.  Athanasius himself suffered five exiles from his See under various emperors sympathetic to the more ‘rational’  and politically expedient Arianism (bear in mind that an exile back then was nearly akin to a death sentence).  Even after the death of Athanasius, Saint Jerome in the early fifth century would write that the whole world awoke and groaned to find itself Arian.


We see in Athanasius the absolute and fundamental important of orthodoxy, of knowing the ‘right truth’.  It is all well and good to do good (orthopraxy) but one must know why and wherefore one is doing good, otherwise one may do evil, while thinking one is doing good (just look at the more benighted and deluded members of the United Nations and various sundry groups trying the save the world from man, oops, person-kind).  Just ask a simple question, is the Earth for Man, or Man for the Earth?  Or more theologically, is Man a divine and supernatural being, for whom the whole cosmos was created, or is he no more than an intelligent, dextrous and, to their minds, dangerous ape, who must make way more room for the other species to frolic?


The truth not only of Christ, but of Man himself, hung upon that one iota, which is why we emphasize the homo-ousios in our Creed to this day, at least, when we do say the full Nicene creed, a rare event for some reason in most parishes.  We are supposed to ‘bow profoundly’ at the mention of the Incarnation in the Creed at Mass, et homo factus est, but this also is a nearly non-existent  event (I might look a little out of place doing so, careful not to bump my forehead against the posterior of the person in front of me, but happy to suffer my own little martyrdom of humility).  I would recommend going back to full-bore genuflection, so we are all on the same liturgical page.


And speaking of being on the same page, I wonder how many Catholics in our vast suburban parishes know and accept the full truth of Christ’s divinity?  Do they believe that He was truly God, come in the flesh?  Do they realize that Christ was not even a human person, but a divine One, who took upon Himself human nature, so to redeem and transform all of said nature into the very form of God?


I sometimes wonder how much I realize these truths, for which countless martyrs through the ages gave their life.  Has the great truth of God-become-Man become humdrum, or are we filled with the zeal of Athanasius, ready to suffer exile and death rather than take one iota from the central truth of our Christian faith?  That question is very real to many Christians in the world, for if there is one thing that Islam, even in its ‘moderate’ forms, denies and cannot tolerate, it is the divinity of Christ.  And if there is one thing the secular world cannot stand, it is the inviolable dignity that belongs to each human person, with a nature that now shares in the very nature of God Himself.


As today’s Gospel prophesies:


Indeed the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.  And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me 


We should each day pray that we might stand with Athanasius against anything that violates the truth of Christ and the truth of Man.


Our annual graduation ceremonies were just held here on Saturday at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, and each year as I see our fresh-faced soon-to-be alumni completing their course of studies, I become more convinced of the need for a solid intellectual formation, both in reason and in faith, especially for the youth.  For only such a foundation can keep them going what look to be difficult, but hopeful, years ahead.


Yes, even beyond youth, I think a little more orthodoxy in our Catholic community, and by that I mean a full immersion in the truths of our faith, making them ‘our own’, would go a long way to more vibrant orthopraxy.  The heart follows the mind, and it is only the truth that will truly set us free.


Saint Athanasius, ora pro nobis!