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"an Imperialist Irishman": Bishop Michael Fallon, The Diocese of London and the Great War (London, England) (Essay)

Historical Studies 2008, Annual, 74

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The First World War has been deemed, by generations of historians, as a singularly significant nation-building experience in Canadian history. The war also provided Catholics the opportunity to prove their loyalty to both nation and Empire, which they did through their largely ebullient and patriotic response. Not all Canadian Catholics, however, rallied to the Imperial war call, as many francophone Catholics remained aloof or inimical to the conflict. The diocese of London, which contained large numbers of both anglophone and francophone faithful, provides an interesting case study on intra-denominational tensions underlined by the Great War. London's irrepressible Bishop, Michael Francis Fallon, remained driven throughout by his tripartite loyalties: to the British Empire, to Irish Catholics and to the Roman Catholic Faith. For Fallon, the war provided Catholics the opportunity to defend the just ideals of the British Empire, and the chance to accent Catholic patriotism in the eyes of Protestant Canada. His call to arms, however, was complicated both by French-Catholic antipathy to the war, and by the controversy surrounding French-language instruction in Ontario schools, on which Fallon took a conspicuous and contentious position. If anglophone Catholics emerged from the Great War further legitimized in English-Canada, it was at the expense of solidarity with their francophone co-religionists, accentuating a social and cultural breach that would persist for decades. Dans l'histoire du Canada, des generations d'historiens ont considere la Premiere Guerre mondiale comme une experience particulierement significative au niveau du developpement du pays. La guerre a aussi ete une occasion pour les eatholiques de demontrer leur loyaute envers la nation et l'Empire, ce qu'ils ont fait par leur reaction enormement exuberante et patriotique. Cependant, tous les Canadiens catholiques n'ont pas repondu a l'appel a la guerre de l'Empire ; beaucoup de catholiques francophones ont garde leurs distances vis-a-vis du conflit et y sont reste hostiles. Le diocese de London, qui comptait un bon nombre de fideles anglophones et francophones, nous offre un cas d'etude interessant des tensions intra-confessionnelles soulignees par la Grande Guerre. L'eveque incoercible de London, Michael Francis Fallon, est reste entibrement motive par ses loyautes tripartites envers l'Empire britannique, les catholiques irlandais et la foi catholique. Pour Fallon, la guerre donnait aux catholiques une occasion de defendre les justes ideaux de l'Empire britannique, et la chance d'accentuer le patriotisme catholique aux yeux du Canada protestant. Cependant, son appel aux armes a ete brouille, d'un cote, par l'aversion des catholiques francophones vis-a-vis de la guerre, et de l'autre, par la controverse tournant autour de l'enseignement en francais dans les ecoles de l'Ontario, controverse dans laquelle Fallon a pris une position tres tranchee. Si les catholiques anglophones sont ressortis de la Grande Guerre plus legitimes dans le Canada anglophone, cela s'est produit aux depens de la solidarite avec leurs coreligionnaires francophones, accentuant ainsi une breche sociale et culturelle qui persistera pendant des decennies.

"an Imperialist Irishman": Bishop Michael Fallon, The Diocese of London and the Great War (London, England) (Essay)
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  • Category: History
  • Published: Jan 01, 2008
  • Publisher: The Canadian Catholic Historical Assn.
  • Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
  • Print Length: 41 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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