Hero, Demon; Pardon of The Scandalized

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Bishop Michael Francis Fallon, (1867-1931), 1920
Source: Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive

In relation to Michael Francis Fallon, the English Catholic Bishop who wanted to keep the French “in their place”, in terms of restrictions on French language education in Ontario.

Issue once again of the dysfunction of the involvement of religious leaders in politics, where absolutist positions have little space, if no place.

How he is later seen:

His achievements were many: new parishes, new schools, establishing St. Peter’s Seminary in 1912, and founding Brescia Hall as a college for girls. He supported Irish home rule and labour’s right to collective bargaining. In 1910, he strongly criticized education standards in the bilingual schools of his diocese. This touched off a painful controversy with francophone groups that dragged on for many years. In 1912, the Ontario Department of Education issued Regulation 17 to entrench English as the language of instruction in Ontario schools. Endorsed by Fallon, this regulation stirred deep opposition among French Canadians. Fallon publicly supported the Union Government formed in 1917, which was an anathema to Quebec. Though a devout Catholic and a man of good works, he was also an Ontarian living in a troubled time and should be understood in this context.

Fallon is buried in the crypt of St. Peter’s Seminary. In his will, he affirmed his faith and begged the pardon of all whom he might have “offended or scandalized.”

Aye, the Home Rule

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