Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monarchist Profile: Bishop Jean-Olivier Briand

His Excellency Jean-Olivier Briand served as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec from 1766 to 1784. Briand was born on January 23, 1715 and was ordained a priest in 1739. Two years later he accompanied Abbé René-Jean Allenou de Lavillangevin and the newly appointed bishop of Quebec, Henri-Marie Dubreil de Pontbriand to Canada. He served there, in the massive diocese of Quebec for the next nineteen years that Pontbriand was bishop. He was, in turn, consecrated as the seventh bishop of Quebec on March 16, 1766 in Paris, France.

Briand had the unenviable task of serving during both the French and Indian War and the American War for Independence, sadly the bishop was on the losing side on both occasions. As vicar-general during the French and Indian War he had to take over many of the responsibilities of the absent bishop and he ministered to the French soldiers on the battlefield but also realized that the odds were against them and that if Britain were victorious some accomodation would have to be reached for the peace and stability of Canada. When the Treaty of Paris was signed he had a Te Deum sung in thanks for the peace and he praised British General Murray for his fairness and humanity. It was partly thanks to his appeals to London that the rights of Catholics in Canada were respected by the British Crown.

When Britain recognized the rights of the French Canadians and allowed religious freedom it encouraged the Catholic leadership in Quebec and reassured them that making peace with the Crown had been correct. When rebellion broke out in the 13 colonies there was immediately talk of spreading the war to Canada and encouraging the French Canadians to take up arms again against the British. However, Bishop Briand saw this as extremely dangerous. The Protestant leaders in the 13 colonies (whose forefathers had left Britain because the Church of England was *too Catholic*) had a reputation for being very intolerant of Catholicism whereas the British had recognized their rights to maintain their religion and their civil laws. Embracing the revolution was the last thing Bishop Briand wanted.

Bishop Briand worked in cooperation with Sir Guy Carleton, Governor-General of Canada, to discourage rebellion and encourage loyalty amongst the French Canadian population. The good Bishop made it clear that rebellion against the Crown of Britain would be the same as rebellion against God. He warned all French Canadians to stay away from the troublemakers and further warned that any who took up arms against King George would be forbidden access to the sacraments, even last rites. He also addressed these issues to the tiny Catholic population in the 13 colonies south of Canada. Today many American Catholics celebrate the memory of the pro-revolutionary priest Father John Carroll of Baltimore. What many do not know is that when Father Carroll tried to encourage French Canadians to join the rebellion Bishop Briand formally excommunicated him.

Of course, Britain eventually lost the American war but the effort to take Canada was an utter failure and the French Canadians did not join the rebellion so Bishop Briand was at least successful in preventing that. Already looking ahead to retirement before the war Bishop Briand resigned in 1784 to hand over duties to a younger man but he retained his powers as bishop, at least on paper, for the final few years of his life. He died on June 25, 1794. Today he is remembered by Catholics as the "second founder" of the Church in Canada.


  1. Well, we share a birthday! Funny you choosing a monarchist who was born on the same day I was (even if it was 273 years before my birth).

    And I was under the impression that the colonies broke away in part because of the Quebec Act (which makes their overtures to the Quebecois all the more ironic and hypocritical).

  2. Happy belated birthday then! If I could pick a famous person to share a birthday with Bishop Briand would be a good one. And yes, the Quebec Act was part of the rabble-rousing to war. It was one of those which the colonies lumped together under the name of the "Intolerable Acts" (granting religious tolerance is considered intolerable -weird huh) with some even going so far as to worry that this was the first sign that King George III was "Pope-ing". Bishop Briand was a major player in working with Carleton to get the Quebec Act passed and that act, combined with how the colonies reacted to it was a major reason for his condemning the American Revolution so unequivically.

  3. Of course what you say is wrong, Gentlemen. Haven't you heard the new and improved version of History? The truth is that America was built on Liberty, including Religiou Freedom, and so Catholics where automaticlaly treated better than in any British Controled Colony.

    (Yes this is Sarcasm.)

    The truth is, most peopel see "Democracy" (really Repblicanism) as the fundation to Religious ibherty, especially Americans, but now the whole world, so the common myth is that Religious Freedom wa sonly secured by Revolutions and the creation of Democracy.

    Histoery always proves these wrong, bhut it makes better press and as with the Cost of Monarchy, s often used as a reason for Democracy against Monarchy, even thoiugh the reverse is often true.

  4. I can understand that Catholics want to claim their place in America from the begining; and there were some, but not many and this mostly stems from an effort to reassure other Americans (who for quite a while viewed all Catholics as a dangerous and possibly subversive element) that they are just as American as anyone else. I get that.

    Still, it is fun to confuse people with the facts. I recall a priest on tv once saying that there was only one regiment of Catholic loyalists in the British army in America. Sounds pretty miniscule if you don't know that that one regiment (the Royal Catholic Volunteers) was one *more* regiment than the Continental Army had, which was none. It also neglects to mention the many Catholic Irish and highland Scots who were scattered about in other British regiments.

    I've also been given a few astonished looks when I point out that it was actually the conservative party in Britain which finally restored the freedom of Catholics in Britain as so many people are so used to the lie that it is always the liberal, revolutionary types who are on the side of liberty and freedom.

    This is similar to (sticking with the Catholic Church for an example) the fact that it was the 'reactionary' Pope Gregory XVI, so famous for his opposition to revolution and modernity, who wrote the papal condemnation of slavery and it was the 'autocratic' Pope Leo XIII famous for never allowing anyone to ever sit down in his presence who wrote the encyclical championing the rights of workers. But none of that fits in with the established views of the radical left who don't want to be confused with the facts.

  5. Oh too true. And even today, Catholic Paul Keating claims that his Catholicism renders allegiance to the (Protestant) Queen of Australia impossible.

    This Catholic very strongly disagrees, and the strong loyalty of Her Majesty's Catholic subjects should be well noted.

    And of course the Progressive take credit for what Conservatives do. How else do you think they've managed to get into power and bugger everything up?

  6. So those tricks are being used in Australia too! LAW Wells gets the ribon for exposing the *internationalist* progressive agenda. That is something I cannot stress often enough. The next time some liberal socialist calls conservatives Nazis or labels Hitler as a "right-wing extremist" simply point out that the only real difference between the red shirts and the brown shirts is that one group were national socialists and the other were international socialists.

    Reading up on the aforementioned Pope Gregory XVI would be a good thing for Mr Keating. It was that Pope who opposed revolution so absolutely that he did so even when Catholics were rising up against non-Catholic monarchs; which was happening at the time in Ireland and in Poland. Of course, if I were to assume that Mr. Keating is an honorable, honest and consistent man, I could only likewise assume that he would be unable to give allegiance to a Protestant President of Australia as well.

    --yeah, I didn't think so...

  7. Republican Catholics woudl have an out for that. They'd just claim they arne't loyal tot he Pesident, but to the people of Australia and its (New, Republican)Constitution.

    Never mind that any new Cnstitution written in the modern age woul be "Secular", and by Secular I odnt man n the same way the US COnstitution was origionally, but as a Thuroughly godless, Atheistic text, ansd that most Australians aen't Catholic, somehow Republicans dont seem to make te distinciton.

    Of coruse ts utterly dishonest. But part of why I am a Monarhcist is becayse Republicanism is so self contradictory. A system inherantly based upon COnficlt of interest and competiion between factions fr power is suppose ot unify us all as one, whereas a common Auhority all are bound to divides us.

    Its really just madness.

    Of course, they simly stick to the script and continue the mhth, and thats how the hwole thing continues, as a Magicians Illusin conceale din Smoke and Miror, and with as much flare and glamour, and little substance.

  8. He might try but that line would not work with me. I would respond with the words of the Catholic saint, I think it was Edmund Campion, who was actually about to be *executed* by Queen Elizabeth I for being Catholic and still affirmed that he was a loyal subject of his Queen in all secular matters. He could use that same argument today and say that even if he cannot approve of the Queen for religious reasons he is still loyal to the Crown.

    But of course we all know here that it is nothing but smoke Keating is blowing up our hinders because even if Great Britain had a Catholic monarchy he still would not support it. I can be absolutely confident of that because (correct me if I am wrong Aussies) the "Crown of Australia" is not tied to any specific Christian denomination at all. The Crown of Great Britain might be, but as far as I know the Crown of Australia (and the Crown of Canada etc) is not and still this does not phase these types. I'm sure, based on what I've heard here, that Mr. Keating is no more a loyal Catholic than he is a loyal Australian as he is simply using his religion as an excuse to oppose the monarchy because it is easier than trying to present a real argument. He's essentially using the Catholic Church to take a cheap shot at the Australian Crown.


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