Roman Catholic Church

The earliest presence of Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland and Labrador is uncertain, but it likely antedates the Reformation. Some have suggested that the Island was discovered by the Irish monk, St. Brendan, c.565-573, but there is no real evidence of this. According to Eirik the Red's Saga, Leifr Eiriksson, who had become a Christian at the court of King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, was accompanied by a priest and was on a mission to convert Greenland to Christianity when he discovered Vinland c.1000. Whether the settlement that resulted, perhaps at L'Anse aux Meadows, was specifically Christian is unknown, but this may have been so. During his colonizing attempt c.1010, Thorfinnr Karlsefni Thordarson is recorded as having baptized two Skraeling (native) boys from Markland. In 1121, Bishop *Eirikr Gnupsson qv, a missionary bishop assigned to Greenland, left Iceland ``to look for Vinland''. The best evidence, however, is that he did not return, and nothing is known of his voyage.

A letter of John Day says that on his first voyage of 1497 John Cabot landed only once in his new-found-land, but there ``went ashore with a crucifix and raised banners bearing the arms of the Holy Father''. We know also that on his second voyage of 1498, Cabot brought with him a Milanese cleric, Giovanni Antonio de Carbonariis, and a Spanish friar named Buil, who had sailed with Columbus. Buil's ship returned in distress to Ireland, but nothing else is known of this expedition, since the other four ships and Cabot himself were lost.

Priests accompanying the early explorers and fishermen to Newfoundland was a pattern. An unnamed priest went with the Englishman, Hugh Eliot, on his voyage to the ``new Ilande'' in 1504. Maps from the 1520s based on Portuguese exploration show the y. de frey luis, or ``island of friar Louis'', now Cape Freels. John Rut had as a fellow traveller ``a wealthy canon of St. Paul's'' on his visit to St. John's in 1527. Jacques Cartier brought a chaplain with him in 1534, when he visited Catalina, the Straits and the west coast, and probably did the same on his second voyage the next year. In 1549, a Basque fishing captain setting out for Newfoundland looked for church supplies, for he intended to take with him a priest to say Mass there. We know also that priests were sometimes among the company at the whaling stations operated by the Basques at Red Bay and other locations along the Straits. One of the most striking documents of that period, however, is a will written by a layman at Carrol Cove, Labrador, on midnight, December 24, 1584. Just before his death, Joanes de Echaniz, a Basque whaler wintering there, entrusted his soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, ``believing firmly as I do believe all that the Holy Roman Catholic Church maintains and believes.'' Some of the first attempts to promote English settlement in Newfoundland had Roman Catholic connections. Evidence shows that Sir Humphrey Gilbert had Catholic backers for his voyage of 1583. Indeed, the purpose of his undertaking may have been to set up a refuge for English Catholics in the New World. It is possible that some Catholics actually accompanied him, but the whole affair came to nothing when Gilbert was lost at sea on his return journey.

The first known Roman Catholics to settle the Island were at the colony established by Sir George Calvert qv, Lord Baltimore, at Ferryland qv, in 1621. Calvert's initial interest was probably mercantile. However, the royal charter granted him in 1623 the ``Province of Avalon'' (a name with clear religious overtones). In 1625, Calvert resigned as Principal Secretary of State, and announced his conversion to Catholicism. The same year he sent to the colony as its new governor Sir Arthur Aston qv, a Roman Catholic, with a party of 15 Catholic settlers. Prompted by the English Carmelite, Thomas Doughty (Father Simon Stock), a confidante of Calvert, the newly formed Vatican Congregation de Propaganda Fide showed great interest in the Newfoundland colony, seeing there a possible base for the evangelization of North America. Calvert himself went to Ferryland in July, 1627, bringing with him Father Anthony Pole (alias Smith), and a second priest, Thomas Longville, who returned to England with the proprietor. Pole stayed in Newfoundland until the summer of 1629, thus becoming the first Catholic priest known to reside in British North America. Another priest named Hacket accompanied Calvert, his family, and about 40 Catholic settlers when they took up residence in Ferryland in 1628, and two Jesuits (possibly Alexander Baker and Lawrence Rigby) went to the colony in 1629.

While Calvert brought out Catholic colonists, and the practice of Catholicism at Ferryland was ``in the ample manner as tis used in Spayne'', the Avalon colony was not intended only as a haven for Catholic refugees. Calvert also had Church of England priests there, Richard James in 1622 and Erasmus Stourton qv in 1627-28, and the deacon Thomas Walker in 1629. Though Stourton denounced the idea, it seems clear that Calvert foresaw a colony founded on religious toleration. In any event the venture ended with the departure of the proprietor and his fellow Catholics in 1629. After a desperate winter Calvert turned his attention southward to what was to become Maryland.

It was under the French regime that the next known Catholic settlers came to Newfoundland. While informal settlement probably began much earlier, a colony was established at Placentia in 1662, with a young priest as chaplain. He was murdered in a mutiny that same winter, but in 1668 Father Pierre de Neufville was said to have been a missionary in Newfoundland for four years. Other documents show Martin d'Hurte as priest and chaplain to the garrison at Placentia in 1671, and chaplains there also in 1681 and 1689. While there may not have been absolute continuity, there is little doubt of a regular supply of priests in the colony. The 1687 census also showed Catholic chapels in other French settlements at Argentia, Pointe Verde, St. Pierre, Hermitage, Grand Bank, Fortune, Harbour Breton, Connaigre and possibly St. Mary's.

The church in southern Newfoundland gained new stability with the visit to Placentia in 1689 by Jean St. Vallier, second Bishop of Quebec, which diocese then included Newfoundland. He formally established there the first Newfoundland parish, titled Our Lady of the Angels. This he entrusted to Recollet priests from Quebec, two of whom he brought with him, Joseph Denys qv as parish priest, and Sixte Le Tac, the historian of New France, as superior and chaplain. They were accompanied by the celebrated lay brother, Didace (Claude Pelletier), whose cause for canonization was introduced in 1713. Denys and Brother Didache remained at Placentia for several years and served a stable and thriving parish. Recollet fathers, three of them in 1701, continued to care for the parish until 1714, when the south coast came under British rule and most of the French Newfoundlanders left to found the town of Louisbourg on Cape Breton.

The second group of Roman Catholics known to have been in Newfoundland in the same period were the Micmac qv. Among the first of the native peoples to become Christian, the Micmac had been evangelized by French missionaries in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They were certainly familiar with Newfoundland even by the beginning of the 1600s, and by the end of the century their presence on the Island is clear even from European reports. As a shortage of game in the Maritimes intensified, Micmac presence in Newfoundland increased. The French governor, Subercase, reported 20 or more Micmac families in Newfoundland in 1705. With them for the winter was their missionary, Father Antoine Gaulin. During the next 50 years there were frequent reports of their presence in southern and southwestern parts of the Island. After 1763, southern Newfoundland had an even greater attraction for the Micmac people. While the English did not permit a priest on Cape Breton, there was still a French priest on St. Pierre, to which the Micmac regularly travelled for baptisms and marriages. The Micmac presence was significant. In 1765, at least 200 Micmac were reported in Bay d'Espoir, and in 1787 a band of about 150 in St. George's Bay.

In eastern and southeastern Newfoundland, where only a handful of French settlers remained, the largest body of Roman Catholics were of Irish origin (see IRISH SETTLEMENT IN NEWFOUNDLAND). Irish immigration probably began with the official colonies of the early 1600s, especially since both Calvert's at Ferryland and Falkland's (Henry Cary qv) at Renews had Irish connections. The Irish presence became noticeable, however, only in the 1680s, when it was observed that the ships that took provisions in the southeast Irish ports on route to Newfoundland regularly brought along both Irish men and women as labourers. Even by 1700 they were probably still few in number and scattered among the various settlements between Cape Race and Cape Bonavista.

What changed the situation was the French emigration of 1714, which suddenly made available to the British the former French fishing premises in southern Newfoundland. The resulting need for new labour coincided with depressed conditions in Ireland, and by 1720 it was reported that ships from the Bristol Channel ports had brought over to the former French territory ``great Numbers of Irish roman Catholick Servants''. These and future Irish immigrants came largely from the southeastern counties of Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford, Kilkenny and north Cork.

The Irish quickly became a fixture of life on the Island. By 1732, Irish Catholics, especially in the Placentia area, included not only workers, but also boat owners. In 1735 Governor Fitzroy Henry Lee declared that there were more ``irish Papists'' than any other group in Newfoundland. This seems exaggerated, but in 1766 Irish were reported as some 4600 of a total population of 11,843, with a note that this was ``far short of their real Number''. The best estimates show that by the 1770s and 1780s they were just less than half the permanent inhabitants. Quite heavy Irish immigration continued until its peak in 1815. Smaller numbers of Irish then came annually until about 1830, when immigration tapered off considerably. Most Irish settlement was along the coast between Placentia Bay and Conception Bay, which accounts for the large Roman Catholic population of the Avalon Peninsula and adjacent regions. Elsewhere Irish Catholics were more likely to be found in scattered pockets.

Although they were usually undisturbed, Newfoundland Roman Catholics suffered periodic harassment. In 1725, Mary Salmon, the wife of a planter at Placentia, who with her family was Catholic, was imprisoned, apparently for refusing the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. The instructions issued to the first governor, Henry Osborn, in 1729, provided that liberty of conscience was to be enjoyed by all ``except Papists''. Even minor officials had to swear the Test Act oath ``that there is not any transubstantiation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever'', an obvious measure to exclude Catholics. Governor Rodney noted in 1749 that refusal to take the various oaths was common to the Irish, who were ``most Notoriously disaffected to the Government''. In 1743, and again in 1754, efforts were made to reduce the number of Irish Catholics wintering in Newfoundland.

The most serious persecution occurred under Governor Richard Dorrill qv in 1755. That year an unnamed Irish Augustinian priest was sent to Newfoundland by Bishop Richard Challoner, Catholic Vicar-Apostolic of London. (Challoner acquired official jurisdiction over Newfoundland only the next year). During the summer of 1755, when the priest operated in Conception Bay, Dorrill ordered his arrest. Although the priest escaped them, the magistrates of the area rigorously applied the laws against Roman Catholics from Carbonear to Harbour Main. Where Mass had been said, the homes or premises were burned, fines levied against their owners, and if they were Catholics their deportation was ordered. Many who attended Mass were also fined; even ships' masters who raised the Irish colours were punished by heavy penalties. At Harbour Main, some were deported simply for being Roman Catholics. That autumn Dorrill left further orders that the houses of Catholics should be pulled down, their land taken, and as many of them as possible sent out of Newfoundland.

Although severe, this kind of oppression did not last. In 1764, Governor Palliser reported that the Roman Catholics had priests among them, but he apparently took no action. By the late 1770s there were at least two roving priests in Newfoundland, and they seem to have circulated freely. Finally, in 1779, the governor's instructions were changed to give full religious liberty to Newfoundland Roman Catholics. This followed the repeal the year before of the worst of the English penal laws, and was perhaps designed to assure the loyalty of Newfoundland Catholics during the revolt of the American colonies.

By 1783, a group of St. John's Catholics, with the governor's approval, wrote to the Bishop of Waterford, which was by then the centre for Irish Newfoundland trade, looking for clergy. They especially wanted a Waterford priest, James Louis O'Donel qv, a Franciscan fluent in Irish, still the language of most Newfoundland Catholics. Bishop James Talbot, Vicar-Apostolic of London and the bishop still officially responsible for Newfoundland, supported the project. Moreover, he referred the matter to the Vatican, which decided on May 30, 1784, to recognize Newfoundland as an independent ecclesiastical territory, with O'Donel as its superior (prefect). This was the first jurisdiction established by Rome in British North America and preceded by a month a similar arrangement for the new United States.

O'Donel arrived in St. John's that same summer with Father Patrick Phelan qv, who was sent to Harbour Grace. Both parishes immediately began building Catholic chapels. Initially O'Donel had to deal with the wandering clergy who came to Newfoundland, about whom the laity had serious complaints. Some of them left, but some defied his authority. This was one of his reasons for founding new parishes at Placentia in 1785, under Edmund Burke, and at Ferryland in 1789, under Thomas Ewer, as additional authorized priests became available. By 1791, the last of the irregular clergy had left the Island, and O'Donel's authority as church leader was recognized by all.

In this period, despite the law, Roman Catholics were still harassed. Much of the trouble occurred at Placentia in 1786 under Prince William Henry (later King William IV). In St. John's the prince also assaulted O'Donel with an iron file. In 1790 there were further difficulties at Ferryland and St. John's under Governor Mark Milbanke and his surrogate, Captain Edward Pellew. Each case involved attempts to place restrictions upon Catholic activities. These problems ended in 1791, thanks to the arrival of the first Chief Justice, John Reeves, who guaranteed that Catholics would be unmolested. By 1794, the Newfoundland church had become large and stable enough that its Catholics petitioned the Pope to have O'Donel named bishop. This was approved in December 1795, when Newfoundland was raised to the status of a Vicariate-Apostolic. O'Donel was consecrated bishop in Quebec City on September 21, 1796. O'Donel thus became the first English-speaking bishop in what is now Canada, and the first Catholic bishop outside the diocese of Quebec.

This was a time of revolutions -- the American, the French, and the Irish rising of 1798. Catholics were obviously divided in their sympathies, but it was important to O'Donel that Newfoundland Catholics showed support for the British regime. The bishop believed that Catholicism had to uphold authority, and that the French and Irish rebellions had ``brought indelible infamy on our holy Religion''. His position was severely tested when, in April 1800, United Irish elements in the St. John's garrison revolted. Although the civilian population had considerable sympathy for their cause, O'Donel used his influence to ensure that the mutiny spread no further. This event, and the conciliatory attitude of O'Donel and his two immediate successors, effectively created a mutual dependence between church leaders and civil authorities which lasted almost three decades. It also contributed to the ready assimilation of Irish Catholics into the mainstream of Newfoundland society.

This assimilation continued under Patrick Lambert qv, who succeeded as bishop when O'Donel resigned in 1807. It was jeopardized only during the massive Irish immigration of 1811-15, when thousands of young Irish flocked to Newfoundland in search of work. With the economic collapse of 1815, terrible unemployment resulted, and faction fighting broke out among the various Irish county groups. By 1818 there was widespread destitution and crime, and the Catholic priests were often called upon to preserve order. This only served to further cement the ties between the clergy and the authorities.

This period was also marked by frequent conversions to Roman Catholicism. Governor Keats wrote in 1813 that Catholics were ``too successful'' in this. Catholic priests were highly mobile and zealous in visiting outlying areas. As a result, they gained numerous adherents, especially in regions where Church of England people went unattended by clergy of their own. This was particularly true of southeastern and southern Newfoundland, where many of English origin were simply absorbed into the predominately Irish Catholic society around them.

Relationships with government remained good until the mid-1820s. From that time on, they were progressively poisoned by a series of events which caused Catholics, about half the population, to feel they were being discriminated against. Their first complaint arose in 1823 over proposed marriage qv legislation. The British government, intending to restrict Methodist ministers, introduced a draft bill that would have allowed other clergy to perform marriages only where this was not ``convenient'' for Church of England clergy. Since this new scheme would have taken away a right their own priests had previously enjoyed, Catholics were outraged. They protested on a large scale, led by Bishop Thomas Scallan qv, who had followed Lambert in 1816. These protests were successful, but Catholics were hurt. Similar problems occurred over schools. Government made grants to schools operated by two Church of England groups, the Newfoundland School Society and the Society for the Propagation of the *Gospel in Foreign Parts qv, but it refused funds for the Orphan Asylum, a charity school sponsored by the *Benevolent Irish Society qv in St. John's, which taught mostly Catholic children. Although this was then the Island's largest school, repeated pleas to London from 1823 to 1832, even from the governor, failed to obtain funds. See SCHOOLS.

More serious were Catholics' political grievances. The new commission to Governor Thomas Cochrane in 1825 provided for an appointed Council as an advisory body to the governor. Although the military commander should have been a member automatically, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Burke was excluded when he, as a Catholic, refused to take some of the required oaths. Despite Cochrane's own efforts to have Catholics as members and the fact that such oaths were not mandatory in Quebec, the British government did nothing. This time Bishop Scallan prevented public demonstrations, but Catholics had been further provoked. In fact, even when all legal barriers had been removed in 1832, no Catholic was named to the Council until 1840.

Catholics of that day looked to the passage of what was known as the Emancipation Act, by which all remaining restrictions against them would be removed. The British parliament finally passed such a law in April 1829, and when news of it reached Newfoundland the next month there was great rejoicing. Catholics, however, were astonished to be told by the Supreme Court in December that this act did not apply to Newfoundland, so that the laws against them remained in force. Naturally they were ``angry and highly irritated''. Again they organized massive protests, and sent petitions to London demanding justice. The Newfoundland authorities tried to convince the British government that this matter was urgent, since at least half the population was Catholic. Yet London did nothing. The Catholic people felt very wronged, since they continued to be denied political rights granted in other colonies. It was not until August 26, 1832, when representative government was granted, that all legal restrictions against Newfoundland Roman Catholics were lifted.

In 1830, against this backdrop of growing disquiet, Bishop Scallan died and was succeeded by his coadjutor, Michael Anthony Fleming qv. In many ways, Fleming's tenure as bishop saw Newfoundland Catholicism's ``coming of age''. It was a period of both strong internal development and bitter conflicts. When Fleming became bishop there were on the Island some 30-50,000 Catholics in five huge parishes served by nine priests. He immediately turned to Ireland for additional clergy. By 1833 he had brought out 11 new priests; before he died this number had grown to 36. Further, most of those Fleming recruited were not transient missionaries or priests temporarily assigned by religious orders, but diocesan priests ordained for the Newfoundland church and who made their homes there. This changed Newfoundland Catholicism considerably. Between 1789 and 1830 only one new parish had been created, at King's Cove in 1817. By 1837 alone, Fleming had founded new parishes at Burin, Brigus, Bay Bulls, St. Mary's, and Tilting. Shortly afterwards he added the parishes of Merasheen, Northern Bay, Trinity, Trepassey, and Little Placentia (Argentia).

Fleming's episcopate was also notable for the introduction to Newfoundland of two religious orders of sisters. In 1833, Fleming brought to St. John's from Ireland the first community of *Presentation Sisters qv, under Sister Mary Bernard Kirwan qv, who were charged with the education of the poor, especially women. The *Sisters of Mercy qv, whose involvement included both teaching and social service, came, also from Ireland, in 1842, with Mother M. Francis Creedon qv as superior. These two orders, who in time were to have convents throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, had a major impact upon the local church, especially in the field of education.

During these years education had become important. In 1836, the legislature had approved a system of non-denominational schools, certainly with Fleming's approval. An impasse occurred, however, when it seemed that some of the boards wanted to infuse these schools with ``Protestant'' values, and Catholic members objected. This led to the separation of Catholic and Protestant schooling in 1843, and eventually to a denominational system when the Protestant grant was sub-divided among the Church of England and Methodists in 1874.

Fleming gave the Newfoundland church a European orientation. His clergy and sisters came from Ireland and studied there. (He would not accept native Newfoundlanders as either.) Nor did he maintain the contacts with the Catholic church in Canada and the United States begun by his predecessors. Indeed, when Newfoundland became a diocese in 1847, it was made subject to the archdiocese of Quebec, but Fleming's strong protests caused a reversal of this decision in 1850.

Bishop Fleming's great preoccupation and crowning achievement was unquestionably the construction of a massive cathedral (see BASILICA OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST) on the height of land overlooking St. John's harbour. Fleming fought with the British government to get the land, personally quarried stone on Kelly's Island, saw much of his funds lost in a bank failure, and generally struggled without ceasing to see the work completed. This imposing structure, then North America's largest church, was for him a visible sign of both the Roman Catholic presence and Newfoundland's new status as a permanent colony. He celebrated Mass in the building in 1850, but it remained unfinished until after his death.

When Fleming was appointed the disputes about Catholic emancipation and the lack of funding for the Orphan Asylum school were still live issues. They had not been forgotten when the 1832 elections took place. Catholics had received full civil rights just days before, and especially in St. John's they had a sense of their new political strength. When the Public Ledger newspaper reacted by denouncing Fleming, religious divisions crept into the election. Even worse were many that followed (see ELECTIONS). Political battles, newspaper controversies, social and economic distinctions, and religious differences were often indistinguishable. Some of the clergy, including Fleming and Edward Troy qv, became prominently involved in these controversies, which were by no means unique to Newfoundland.

These feelings outlived Fleming himself and resulted in several decades of sharp political divisions along religious lines. Among other things, Catholics became staunch supporters of responsible (local) government. Its main advocates included two leading Catholic laymen, John Kent and Philip F. Little qqv, both of whom later became prime ministers. It was perhaps this dedication to an independent Newfoundland that prompted Roman Catholic opposition to Confederation in 1869. The relative decline of their numbers, from 51% in 1836 to 46% in 1851 to just 38% by 1884, almost certainly made Catholics more defensive. Tensions were not put to rest until after the violence of the Harbour Grace affray of 1883 and the sectarian election campaign of 1885 (see GOVERNMENT; HARBOUR GRACE), following which denominational accommodations of various sorts were eventually worked out. These arrangements became a feature of Newfoundland society into the post Confederation era.

Fleming's successor as bishop, John Thomas Mullock qv (1850-1869), was above all a talented organizer. It was he who finished the cathedral in 1855 and who oversaw the many fine church buildings erected in St. John's and elsewhere throughout the Island. In many ways it was in Mullock's time that the church left behind its missionary roots. Newfoundland had become a diocese in 1847. In 1856 it was divided into two: St. John's, under Mullock, and Harbour Grace, with John Dalton qv as its first bishop. This new diocese extended from Conception Bay to Labrador, which local priests had visited since the 1820s. Western Newfoundland remained attached to St. John's, but from 1850 had its own vicar-general, Father Alexis Bélanger qv. He had come to St. George's Bay with French-speaking settlers from the Magdalene Islands. These joined the growing number of Acadians, Bretons, Normans, St. Pierrais, Micmac, and Scots who formed the core of the Catholic population of the west coast in the nineteenth century.

Dalton and Mullock died within months of each other in 1869. In 1870 they were replaced by Henry Carfagnini qv, an Italian, and Thomas Power qv, an Irishman, both of whom were consecrated in Rome during the closing days of the First Vatican Council. Their appointments reflected the last traces of dwindling European influence in such matters. Concurrently, western Newfoundland became a separate prefecture-apostolic, and Father Thomas Sears qv, a priest from Nova Scotia who had followed Bélanger, was named to lead it in 1871. (Placentia Bay, including the south coast, was made a prefecture at the same time, but was attached to St. John's and was suppressed as a separate territory in 1891.) In western Newfoundland, Sears provided a voice for the local inhabitants, who suffered from the restrictions of the *French Shore qv treaties. He once wrote that they had ``less of the conveniences of civil polity than the Hottentots of South Africa!!!''

During the next decades, under Power in St. John's, and gradually throughout the Island, many familiar devotional practices entered into Newfoundland Catholicism, including Christmas cribs, the Angelus, Sunday ``prayers'', the Forty Hours devotions, the honouring of Jesus under the title of Sacred Heart, and parish missions. It was also Power who in 1876 brought the *Irish Christian Brothers qv to St. John's to provide schooling for boys.

In Harbour Grace, Bishop Carfagnini became involved in a major dispute with parishioners over whether the local Benevolent Irish Society was a religious or secular body. The matter went to the Holy See, which ruled, against Carfagnini, that it was a secular organization. This led to his resignation, and in 1881 Ronald MacDonald qv, a Nova Scotian, succeeded him as bishop of Harbour Grace. MacDonald did much to reconcile differences, and it was he who organized the means to rebuild after fire destroyed the splendid cathedral in that town in 1889.

In 1892, Michael Francis Howley qv, Sears' successor, became Vicar-Apostolic of Western Newfoundland and the first native-born bishop. While serving there, Howley produced his famous Ecclesiastical History in 1888. Transferred to St. John's in 1894, he became the first Archbishop when in 1904 Newfoundland was made an ecclesiastical province. The west coast then became a diocese, and Neil McNeil qv, the Nova Scotian who had followed Howley, became Bishop of St. George's. Like Sears, both Howley and McNeil did much to support the cause of the people of the west coast until the French Shore dispute was finally resolved in 1904. McNeil was also very involved in the building of a cathedral, bishop's residence and convent school at St. George's. In Harbour Grace, a local priest, John March qv became bishop in 1906; he remained there until 1940. When McNeil became Archbishop of Vancouver in 1910, Michael Fintan Power qv, a priest of the diocese originally from St. John's, followed as bishop, but Power, still only 43, died in 1920.

Howley was a great Newfoundland patriot, but politically and socially conservative. In 1909 he banned Roman Catholic membership in William Coaker's Fishermen's Protective Union on the grounds that it was a secret society. He made it clear, however, that he opposed any organization that would ``set... fishermen against the merchant; the labourer against the employer''. Although he later withdrew his ban when the union's oath was dropped, his opposition prevented the F.P.U. from getting a foothold in Roman Catholic districts. Again on the grounds that it was a secret society, he first opposed the *Knights of Columbus qv, but when Bishop March of Harbour Grace approved the formation of Dalton Council there in 1909, Howley allowed a council in St. John's.

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Archbishop Howley died, and was replaced by Edward Patrick Roche qv, whose long episcopate (1915-1950) made him a Newfoundland institution. During the next decades, the local church was guided by Roche, March, and Henry T. Renouf qv, Bishop of St. George's (1920-41). New parishes were founded, churches, schools and rectories built, and convents established throughout the Island. Roche's own tenure spanned two world wars, the Depression, the loss of self government, the impact of American, Canadian and British bases, the onset of modern communications, and Confederation. A prime concern was education. Under the influence of educators such as Vincent P.Burke and R.K. Kennedy qqv, Catholic schools were strengthened, and yet a Department of Education and a Memorial College, both organized on non denominational lines, were accepted. All three bishops, however, strenuously opposed attempts by Commission of Government in 1935-37 to tamper with the denominational system, declaring that there must continue to be ``Catholic teachers in Catholic schools... [under] Catholic authorities''. In this effort, in which they had the support of Church of England leaders, they were largely successful.

Despite illness, Roche's leadership was strong and influential. His attempt to use it in the referenda campaigns of 1948, however, met with limited results and ultimately failed. For a variety of reasons, but stressing always that any further constitutional change should be negotiated only by an independent Newfoundland, he opposed Confederation. The Archbishop's views were publicized in the editorials of a Catholic newspaper, The Monitor. In his stand, Roche had the backing of many clergy and laity, although not all. Bishop John M. O'Neill qv of Harbour Grace (1940-72) supported him. However, Bishop Michael O'Reilly qv of St. George's diocese (1941-70), where the population had stronger links to the mainland, almost certainly held a contrary view. Several Roman Catholic priests were openly pro-Confederate. Roche's position (as well as a tradition of support for responsible government and the absence of ties to Canada) no doubt influenced the strong Catholic vote against Confederation on the Avalon Peninsula. Elsewhere it probably had limited effect.

When Archbishop Roche died in 1950, he was succeeded by his newly appointed auxiliary, Patrick J. Skinner qv, a Newfoundlander who had served in Halifax. Skinner's tenure encompassed the immediate post-Confederation period, during which he had the duty of soothing the angry feelings left over from the 1948 campaigns. In his time the Newfoundland dioceses became involved in the Canadian Catholic Conference (later the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops). Tensions developed between the national body and the Newfoundland bishops in 1959 when the latter supported government suppression of the International Woodworkers of America, the local loggers' union (see UNIONS). Nevertheless, ties between the church in Newfoundland and the Catholic church on the mainland gradually became closer. Newfoundland Catholicism also became less isolated through the participation of its bishops in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), an international assembly of Roman Catholic bishops.

It was Archbishop Skinner who led efforts in the early 1960s to reform and consolidate Roman Catholic school boards, and to form them into an association, whose first president was James D. Higgins qv. Following the Warren Report on education (1966) it was also Skinner who spearheaded negotiations with government that led to legislation in 1968 establishing denominational education councils, including the Catholic Education Council under Dr. J.K. Tracey.

Over these years the organization of the church changed significantly. In 1946, Labrador, which had been served by the Diocese of Harbour Grace (Msgr. Edward J. O'Brien qv was a long-time missionary there), became a separate vicariate under the Oblate fathers, with Lionel Scheffer (1946-66) as its first bishop. In light of the growth of Corner Brook, the seat of the western diocese was moved there in 1947, although the title of St. George's was kept. In 1953, for similar reasons, Bishop O'Neill moved from Harbour Grace to Grand Falls; that diocese officially became the Diocese of Grand Falls in 1965. Modern cathedrals were opened in Corner Brook (*Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer qv) and Grand Falls (*Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception qv) in 1956 and 1965 respectively. In 1978 the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Labrador City, also became a cathedral church.

After 1965 the main focus of the church became the introduction of the changes decreed by the Second Vatican Council, especially in the areas of parish and diocesan life, liturgy, ecumenism and social justice. The language of worship went from Latin to English, congregational participation increased and many churches were renovated to accommodate the new ritual. Roman Catholics began to take a greater part in shared prayer with other Christian groups, in ministerial associations, and in a variety of inter-church endeavours. Of special significance was the development of parish councils and finance committees, and the growth of lay organizations like the Catholic Women's League and the Knights of Columbus. The latter expanded dramatically, especially under state deputy J. Wayne Trask qv between 1982 and 1984. In social action, the involvement of a Catholic priest, Desmond McGrath qv, in the formation of a broadly-based fisheries union in the 1970s, which united inshore, offshore and fish plant workers, was also notable. Together with Archbishop Skinner, who retired in 1979, major responsibility for overseeing the changes produced by the Second Vatican Council rested with Alphonsus L. Penney qv (Bishop of Grand Falls, 1973-79; Archbishop of St. John's, 1979-91), Richard T. McGrath qv, Bishop of St. George's (1970-85), and Henri Legaré (1967-72) and Peter A. Sutton (1974-86), bishops of Labrador-Schefferville.

Of major significance for Newfoundland Catholicism was the visit to the Province of Pope John Paul II on September 12-13, 1984, which included the blessing of fishing boats at Flatrock and an open-air Mass at Quidi Vidi Lake with a congregation of 70-80,000 (see PAPAL VISIT). In the 1980s also, several new bishops were named to head local sees. Joseph Faber MacDonald qv became Bishop of Grand Falls in 1980, Raymond J. Lahey qv, Bishop of St. George's in 1986, and Henri Goudreault, Bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville in 1987. After 1988 the Catholic church in the Province was much affected by charges of sexual abuse by some members of the clergy and by Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel orphanage (see HUGHES INQUIRY; ORPHANAGES). Archbishop Penney appointed a commission headed by Gordon A. Winter to look into the matter as it concerned the Archdiocese, and in the aftermath of the commission's report in 1990 tendered his resignation. The Holy See accepted it in 1991, and James H. MacDonald qv, until then Bishop of Charlottetown, was appointed to succeed him.

Gerald E. Benson (1992), Michael Brosnan (1948), Cyril J. Byrne (1984), Luca Codignola (1988), G.E. Gunn (1966), M.F. Howley (1888), Hiller and Neary (1980), R.J. Lahey (1984), Murphy and Byrne (1987), Murphy and Stortz (1993), Paul O'Neill (1984), Kathryn Pike (1985), D.W. Prowse (1895), BN II (1937), The Centenary of the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. John's, Newfoundland, 1855-1955 (1955), DCB V-IX, XII.

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