Soldier of Christ, an update:  A Papal Encyclical motivated Arcand’s political fight


Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio (1922)
Urges Catholic Laity to spread the Faith

Adrien Arcand, a handsome young officer

Adrien Arcand, a handsome young officer.  There’s an inscription in English to his wife written at an angle across the photo.  It seems to say:  “For my darling little wife, all my thoughts and my life.  Adrien”.

For my English translation of Arcand’s Inevitability of a Social Reconstruction, I tracked down, quite by luck, the origin in a papal encyclical, Rerum Novarum, of the two-paragraph quote that begins the pamphlet.  Thus, the influence of papal encyclicals on Arcand’s political views became more apparent.

Today, I will do something different.  I will explain Adrien Arcand’s political action by the existence of another encyclical, this one from 1922.  I will demonstrate that a post-WWI encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, provides the “legal authority” (the legislative authority of the Catholic Church) that underpins the spiritually motivated political activity of this devout French-Canadian Catholic.

Said author, Jean Côté:

“Judging from all his writings, Adrien Arcand … was more of a missionary who had strayed into politics, a soldier of Christ … He had the feeling and the certitude that through his speeches he was transmitting authentic and indestructible values.”1

There may be more involved than Arcand’s personal “feeling and certitude”.  A command from the Catholic Church appears to have summoned Arcand to his political objectives, and above all inspired his construction of a new constitutional order without political parties.  An interesting statement in a doctoral thesis online gives a meaningful context to Arcand’s religious-political action in his time.  Thesis author, Peter Ernest Baltutis, points out:

“Depression-era Quebec also provided fertile soil for the Catholic Action movement, an organized apostolate of young lay men and women.  In 1922, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei, which organized Catholic laity, under the close supervision of the bishops, to actively spread Catholic values and political ideals through secular society.” 2

But, the Great Depression era is Arcand’s day, Arcand’s Quebec!

Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio3 is a post-war encyclical in the aftermath of World War I.  It is long, and commences with an account of the suffering of those defeated, that of the victors and that of the neutral States.  It is a call to the Laity to spread the Love of Christ in a war-torn world to prevent another war and secure world peace.

Ubi Arcano Dei helps to explain the political action of Arcand and his yearning for a constitution for Canada to bring about the Kingdom of Christ on Earth.  It helps to explain his urgent personal and political action in an effort to warn a naive world that World War II was on the way:

“For several months prior to the Second World War (Sept. 3, 1939), the National Unity Party of Canada campaigned against “a plot to impose a new world war upon humanity…”4

Monsignor Georges Gauthier, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal (1912)

Monsignor Georges Gauthier, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal (1912)

We know from Arcand’s correspondence (what little remains after the mass destructive raids of the ‘liberal’ government in 1940) that Arcand closely collaborated with his local priests and bishops.  He sought their help and advice; he fulfilled their requests for action.  Arcand responded to Monsignor Georges Gauthier, the Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal, to fight the unconstitutional Jewish Schools law of 1930.  Quebec historian Robert Rumilly reports,5 in an excerpt from my exclusive English translation (upcoming in a big historical anthology of Arcand’s 1930 public talk, “Christian or Jew?”):

“So, Mgr. Gauthier exerts more influence than it seems.  But this time, the public gesture seems necessary.  Bishop Gauthier reads and comments on his letter (to Premier Taschereau) during a ceremony at Saint Joseph’s Oratory.  He reads and comments with the intensity natural and appropriate to his sacred character.  On the other hand, he enlists a young journalist, Adrien Arcand, collaborator in Joseph Menard’s little newspapers, to fight (the Jewish Schools) bill —

As late as 1965, Arcand’s A Bas La Haine! is linguistically checked by a priest before publication.6

By October of 1966, the “influential bishops” of Quebec7 were Georges-Léon Pelletier (Three Rivers), Charles-Eugène Parent (Rimouski); Georges Cabana (Sherbrooke), and Paul Bernier (Gaspe), known as the “intégristes” (to borrow a term from constitutional law, we might call them “originalists”) because of their rigid opposition to change in the Catholic Church (one wonders what they thought of the far-left Vatican II, although, of course, Arcand in A Bas La Haine! was not about to admit the “change”); and lastly, Canon Lionel Groulx who inspired the “achat chez nous” campaign, a boycott of Jewish merchants promoted by Arcand with cartoons and editorials.

Where did this collaboration come from between Arcand and the bishops?

I believe it came from Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, the first encyclical of Pope Pius XI, delivered in Rome at St. Peter’s on 23 December 1922, calling for “Catholic action” by the laity under close supervision by the bishops:

58.  Tell your faithful children of the laity that when, united with their pastors and their bishops, they participate in the works of the apostolate, both individual and social, the end purpose of which is to make Jesus Christ better known and better loved, then they are more than ever “a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people,” of whom St. Peter spoke in such laudatory terms.  (I Peter ii, 9)  Then, too, they are more than ever united with Us and with Christ, and become great factors in bringing about world peace because they work for the restoration and spread of the Kingdom of Christ.  Only in this Kingdom of Christ can we find that true human equality by which all men are ennobled and made great by the selfsame nobility and greatness, for each is ennobled by the precious blood of Christ.  As for those who are in authority, they are, according to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, but ministers of the good, servants of the servants of God, particularly of the sick and of those in need.

Adrien Arcand relied on other encyclicals, including Rerum Novarum, when he designed his “Canadian Corporatism,” also called Catholic Corporatism.  He quoted the encyclicals, or echoed their commands in many of his writings.  In his correspondence, Arcand refers to Saint Thomas Aquinas (not to Hitler!) for his political doctrine on unitary or undivided leadership.  (See Arcand’s letter of 13 June 1963 to Hon. Daniel Johnson, Q.C., Leader of the Opposition:  “Do we see an assistant Pope in the Church, an assistant Colonel in a regiment, an assistant Commander aboard a ship, etc.?”)  Pius XI recommends Aquinas in his Ubi Arcano Dei of 1922 where he also underscores the extreme danger posed by political parties.

If we combine Rerum Novarum, the encyclical of Leo XIII in 1891 with the encyclical of Pius XI in 1922, Ubi Arcano Dei, we have the Catholic foundation for Adrien Arcand’s “missionary” work in Quebec and federal politics.

In Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, Pius XI warns about the added “evils” of:

“… contests between political parties, many of which struggles do not originate in a real difference of opinion concerning the public good or in a laudable and disinterested search for what would best promote the common welfare, but in the desire for power and for the protection of some private interest which inevitably result in injury to the citizens as a whole.  From this course there often arise robberies of what belongs rightly to the people, and even conspiracies against and attacks on the supreme authority of the state, as well as on its representatives.  These political struggles also beget threats of popular action and, at times, eventuate in open rebellion and other disorders which are all the more deplorable and harmful since they come from a public to whom it has been given, in our modern democratic states, to participate in very large measure in public life and in the affairs of government.  Now, these different forms of government are not of themselves contrary to the principles of the Catholic Faith, which can easily be reconciled with any reasonable and just system of government.  Such governments, however, are the most exposed to the danger of being overthrown by one faction or another.”

Arcand then writes, under the heading “Destruction of the Pork Barrel,” in Canadian Corporatism, his plan to restructure Canada:

“As Parliament will be composed of representatives of the great classes of the nation and as there will be no more political parties, as the political ideal will be completely changed, there will be no longer any ‘Pork-Barrel,’ any palm-greasing, any partisan patronage.”

Arcand would thus have done away with “robberies of what belongs rightly to the people.”

On another page of Canadian Corporatism, Arcand says:

“The political parties which divide the nation into artificial and useless factions will be all abolished.  There will be only one single political party, the Canadian nation.  All Canadians will be part of it.  The nationalist system in power will recognize no opposition.”

Goodbye factions, goodbye revolution, goodbye risk of overthrow, all of them “evils” warned against by Pius XI.  Stability would be established by means of undivided unity, and undivided leadership as per Thomas Aquinas.  Leadership, not dictatorship; because in Arcand’s corporate system, the top merely ratifies and sees to enforcement of what the social classes themselves decide.

He concludes:

“The government will be truly national, the government of all the people, and it will concern itself with the whole people.”

Elsewhere, Arcand notes:

“Parliamentarianism is not liberal democracy.  The parliament, consultation, discussion existed long centuries before the arrival of liberal democracy.  Formerly parliaments were really national.  With liberal democracy, we have had only partisan or factional parliaments, representing only part of the people, while the other part, defeated in the elections, was punished by the privations of political or parliamentary opposition.”

Arcand then inquires:

“By what shall we replace the system which is slowly foundering in corruption and falsehood?”

It is incredible that Arcand knew Parliament had once been unitary.  It had been, and still is supposed to be, a circle  of advisers to the King.  He probably became aware of it through the Popes, for I am pretty sure he never studied the Constitution.  Pius XI refers to “modern democracies,” emphasizing the danger of “factions”.

Arcand then contrasts the totalitarian system wanted by the Communists with the Catholic-inspired system that he recommends, making it obvious that he doesn’t view his own system as a dictatorship:

“The disciples of the Jew Karl Marx propose the mischievous doctrine of this false prophet under various names:  socialistm, communism, bolshevism, sovietism, anarchy, popular front.  It is materialism pushed to its final conclusions.  It is, moreover, the dictatorship of one class over all the other classes.  It is the definite destruction of Christianity by destroying that which supports the ideas of God, religion, family, private property, initiative, social justice, order, morality, and spiritual values.”4

My very first impression was that Arcand’s desire to eliminate political parties was an attack on the Constitution, a coup d’état.  And since I am sure he didn’t study the Constitution, I thought he didn’t realize what he was doing.  However, I have changed my mind, at least to some degree.

Arcand may have been right about eliminating political parties.  The only question being the process by which he would accomplish his turn-about back to a unitary Parliament.  (We also have the problem of parties in the Provinces; in order to avoid the equivalent of a coup, they would have to be retained, with local unitary governments.)

The doctrine of laches  in Canadian constitutional law allows the correction of constitutional errors at any time; there is no “prescription,” no expiry date after which a constitutional mistake is no longer correctable.  The error never becomes “constitutional” by neglect to deal with it.  In other words, a violation of the Constitution never becomes constitutional.

We had an example of this fact in the Manitoba Language Rights Reference of 1985,8 but I cite the example with caution because procedurally, it was not correct; the “declarations” made by the “court” were not declaratory of the law; they were made in the course of a mere advisory (also called a reference; like the 1998 Secession Reference).  Advisories are non-judicial, so that no binding declaration of law can be made.  Nonetheless, in 1985, a constitutional error over 90 years old was deemed to have been corrected; although, again, genuine litigation and not a mere advisory would be needed to do it.  (One would also have to be under the right Constitution at the time; for, as Judge Brian Dickson, who sat on the fraudulent “Patriation Reference”9 would have known, and as Barry Lee Strayer admitted in 1982 in his Cronkite Lectures,10 Canada had a coup d’état in 1982, not a “constitutional amendment”.

So, if Arcand had gone about it with, say, a declaration from an appropriate court stating that political parties are not constitutional, and he then sought a constitutional amendment  to expressly rectify the Constitution, it might not have been a coup d’état, but the correction of an error, if he could prove the error.

How could Arcand begin to prove the error?

At page 24 of Defence of the Realm11 ― produced under supervision of the late Leolin Price CBE, QC, and published by The Magna Carta Society (United Kingdom) ― the question is put like this:

“The modern disproportionate dominance of the elected House of Commons over the sovereignty of the people, and the erosion of constitutional checks and balances, were first given serious encouragement by Lord Mansfield, a Scottish Jacobite who became Lord Chief Justice of England in the 18th century.  Despite Blackstone’s12 observations, he had no problem with an executive operating within the legislature.

The institutions and practices which have grown up since that time ― collective cabinet responsibility, organised political parties, career politicians, and the whip system which denies politicians the freedom to vote according to their conscienceare not based on legislation, nor on common law, nor on the law and custom of parliament.

Sir Ivor Jennings pointed out in Law and the Constitution that these conventions had never been formally recognised by parliament or the courts.  The courts recognised a constitution based primarily on the Bill of Rights.”

To this, I add a source I have quoted elsewhere in this blog, Lord Shaw of Dunfermline in Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants v. Osborne, [1910] AC 87:

“Take the testing instance:  should his view as to right and wrong on a public issue as to the true line of service to the realm, as to the real interests of the constituency which has elected him, or even of the society which pays him, differ from the decision of the parliamentary party and the maintenance by it of its policy, he has come under a contract to place his vote and action into subjection not to his own convictions, but to their decisions.  My Lords, I do not think that such a subjection is compatible either with the spirit of our parliamentary constitution or with that independence and freedom which have hitherto been held to lie at the basis of representative government in the United Kingdom.”  (Emphases added.)

If, indeed, political parties are unconstitutional, since they violate the basic principle of the independence of the member of Parliament, and the other principle of the unity of Parliament, there necessarily is a way to restore the proper constitution of Parliament.

Lord Shaw’s rather more “contemporary” observation that political parties are not a part of the true constitution of the United Kingdom brings to mind Adrien Arcand’s “Key to the Mystery”.  The Paris edition of 1939 republished the 1938 edition from Montreal, Canada which appeared under the signature and patronage of the Anticommunist Women’s League of Montreal, one of Arcand’s organizations.

The Paris Edition13, at page 8, says (translation):

“In its issue of July 1st, 1880, ‘Le Contemporain’, the great Paris review, published a long article entitled ‘Report of Sir John Readcliff on the politico-historical events of the last ten years.’  It was the text of a speech given at Prague by Rabbi Reichorn in 1869 on the tomb of the great Rabbi Simeon-Ben-Jehouda.”

Further below, Reichorn is quoted in the section ‘A Jewish Plan for World Conquest’ (translation):

“With untiring praise for the democratic regime, we will divide the Christians into political parties, we will destroy the unity of their nations, we will sow discord among them.  Powerless, they will suffer the law of our Bank, forever united, forever devoted to our cause.”

Arcand had not only the Church to motivate his political redesign, but the boast of Rabbi Reichorn that it was the Jews who had somehow divided Parliament in the first place.  And that would be the Parliament in England; for research indicates the first parties emerged in England and “modern democracy” spread from there.

The speech quoted by Readcliff was given in 1869, two years after Confederation, at which time we indeed had political parties.  Lord Mansfield, referred to in Defence of the Realm was active in the previous century.  The Reichorn speech was a ritual repetition of a speech delivered at hundred-year intervals.  That means there must have been a basic text, updated with news at each reading.  This might account for the future tense, “we will divide,” “we will destroy”; which implies that an earlier text predates political parties.

A fascinating article, “The Origin of English Political Parties” by W.C. Abbott in The American Historical Review, Vol. 24, No. 4 (July, 1919), pp. 578-602 (25 pages) (you can find it at JSTOR), supports the idea that parties emerged first in England at the time of the Reformation.  See pages 583-584.

Arcand, who viewed the Reformation as a product of Jewish influence, would be deeply interested.  For, we would then have both the splitting of the Catholic Church and the splitting of our unitary Parliament in the same era by the same aggressor, if Rabbi Reichorn is believed.

In the section “Judaisation through the Reformation” (“Judaïsation par la Réforme”) in his book, Is Christianity Bankrupt? (1954), Arcand writes:

Des chercheurs anglais — chose curieuse, ils sont protestants — se sont dépensés pour trouver l’origine véritable des hérésies qui ont affligé l’Eglise du Christ depuis ses débuts, depuis le simonisme jusqu’à la toute récente secte des Témoins de Jéhovah, en passant par l’arianisme, le manichéisme, le nestorianisme, le catharisme des Albigeois et combien d’autres et leurs statistiques révèlent qu’au moins 95% de ces déviations proviennent directement d’une action juive.  Ces auteurs présentent Calvin comme un Juif de père et mère ; quant à Luther, auteur de la grande Réforme, ils répètent à son sujet le vieil adage :  si Lyrus non lyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset, soulignant que le Nicolas de Lyre en question était un Juif voué à la destruction du christianisme.

English researchers — oddly enough, they are Protestants — have expended themselves to find the true origin of the heresies that have afflicted the Church of Christ from its beginnings, from Simonism to the very recent sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses, by way of Arianism, Manicheism, Nestorianism, the Catharism of the Albigensians, and countless others.  Their statistics reveal that at least 95% of these deviations are the direct result of a Jewish action.  These authors present Calvin as a Jew by both his father and his mother; as for Luther, the author of the great Reformation, they refer to him with the old adage:  si Lyrus non lyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset, emphasizing that the Nicolas of Lyre in question was a Jew dedicated to the destruction of Christianity.


Not only do we see the influence of Pius XI in Arcand’s desire to eliminate political parties, we see it in Arcand’s Miroir  editorials and his Goglu  cartoons of the 1930s.  The attack on corrupt politicians is unrelenting.

It is therefore unlikely that, as Côté said in 1994, Arcand was “more of a missionary who had strayed into politics”.  In the light of Ubi Arcano Dei, Arcand did not “stray” into politics; he strode soldierly, directly into it, determined to “actively spread Catholic values and political ideals” as the 1922 encyclical of Pius XI had summoned him to do.

It increasingly appears that Pierre Trépanier is right when he says of Arcand’s corporatism (translation):

“the single-party regime … would have been subordinated to divine law …. and to the teachings of the social doctrine of the Church.”

Trépanier concludes:

“The French-Canadian version of fascism would have been much closer to a sort of authoritarian and modern Christendom than to the Third Reich.”14

Arcand and the men and women who followed him, and who found themselves in the concentration camps of the “liberals” for doing so, were actively living their Catholic Faith when they formed political movements and local and national parties to preserve “Catholic values and political ideals” for the betterment of Canada.

They were also defending their constitutional right to a Christian Canada and a Catholic Quebec.  These rights were recognized first in the Treaty of Paris of February 10, 1763 at Article 4 (properly today called “Section 4”):

“His Britannick Majesty, on his side, agrees to grant the liberty of the Catholick religion to the inhabitants of Canada:  he will, in consequence, give the most precise and most effectual orders, that his new Roman Catholic subjects may profess the worship of their religion according to the rites of the Romish church, as far as the laws of Great Britain permit.”

The British North America Act of 1867 perfected and secured these religious rights by enacting for Quebec a separate Legislature for the local self-government of the Catholic French-Canadians.

Honorable Solicitor General Hector-Louis Langevin, 1865

Honorable Solicitor General Hector-Louis Langevin, 1865

On that score, the words of Solicitor-General Hector-Louis Langevin in the Debates on Confederation of 186515 make the purpose of Confederation clear, as viewed by the French-Canadians:

“We are considering the establishment of a Confederacy — with a Central Parliament and local parliaments.  The Central or Federal Parliament will have the control of all measures of a general character …, but all matters of local interest, all that relates to the affairs and rights of the different sections of the Confederacy [by sections, he means the Provinces] will be reserved for the control of the local parliaments ….  It will be the duty of the Central Government to see that the country prospers, but it will not be its duty to attack our religion, our institutions, or our nationality, which will be amply protected.”

These rights of the French-Canadians, as of all the Founders, are both religious and political.  Confederation would be worthless if the guarantee were not enforceable; which is the whole point of a constitution.  However, there is a catch.  You must learn your Constitution.  If Arcand had learned his Constitution, he might have enforced it on more than one occasion.
1.  Jean Côté, Adrien Arcand : une grande figure de notre temps, 1994.  ISBN 2-9801677-3-8.
2.  Forging the Link between Faith and Development The History of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace 1967-1982 by Peter Ernest Baltutis, doctoral thesis, Faculty of Theology, University of Saint Michael’s College and Historical Department, Toronto School of Theology (2012), p. 33.
3.  Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, the first encyclical of his pontificate, delivered by Pope Pius Xi at Rome at St. Peter’s on 23 December 1922.  Read the English:  Encyclical Of Pope Pius XI On The Peace Of Christ in The Kingdom Of Christ, to Our Venerable Brethren The Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, And Other Ordinaries. In Peace And Communion With The Apostolic See.  Read the French:  Lettre Encyclique, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio du Souverain Pontife Pie XI de La Paix Du Christ Dans Le Règne De Dieu.
4.  From “Synopsis of Facts and Events” in a draft dated 1957 of a “Memorandum and Request Re: Claims of Canadian Nationalists Against the Government of Canada for Unjust Internments Submitted by Adrien Arcand” to the federal government of Canada.
5.  “The Jewish Schools Affair (1928-1931),” an exclusive English translation for Adrien Arcand Books of “L’affaire des écoles juives (1928-1931)” by Robert Rumilly, published in the Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française  102 (1956):  222-233 by the Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique française.  The translation is part of an upcoming historical compendium.
6.  Jean Côté, Adrien Arcand : une grande figure de notre temps, 1994.  ISBN 2-9801677-3-8.
7.  Ibid.
8.  Reference re Manitoba Language Rights, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 721.
9.  Re:  Resolution to amend the Constitution, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 753.
10.  “Patriation and Legitimacy of the Canadian Constitution,” the Dean Emeritus F.C. Cronkite, Q.C., Memorial Lectures, Third Series, October 1982, delivered at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan by Barry Lee Strayer, Q.C., Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Law) Department of Justice (Canada) barely six months after the so-called “patriation” of Canada’s constitution from United Kingdom.  In these lectures, Mr. Strayer admits the 1982 patriation was in fact a coup d’état.
11.  Defence of the Realm, A Summary of Evidence to Justify a Petition to The Queen, and Other Matters Regarding the Purported Imposition of Foreign Laws by the European Union on the United Kingdom,” Published by the Magna Carta Society.  First Edition, April 6, 2000; second reprinting June, 2000.  UPDATE 4 DEC 2019:  A scan of the original copy of DEFENCE OF THE REALM has now been placed online for the convenience of readers:
12.  I think this may be what Price had in mind when referring to Blackstone:  “In all tyrannical governments the supreme magistracy, or the right of both making and of enforcing the laws, is vested in one and the same man, or one and the same body of men; and whenever these two powers are united together, there can be no public liberty. / The magistrate may enact tyrannical laws, and execute them in a tyrannical manner, since he is possessed, in quality of dispenser of justice, with all the power he as legislator thinks proper to give himself.”  (Emphases added.)  Commentaries on the Laws of England, an influential 18th Century treatise on the common law of England, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765-1769.  (Quote is from the 1916 edition, Book One, pp. 146-147.  I may have modernized the English myself; I can’t find my copy of Blackstone right now to check.)
13.  La Clé du Mystère, F. de Boisjolin, Publisher.  Imprimerie Commerciale Yvetot. 1939.
14.  Trépanier, P. (1991). La religion dans la pensée d’Adrien ArcandLes Cahiers des dix, (46), 207–247.
15.  Solicitor General Hector-Louis Langevin, Parliamentary Debates on the Subject Of The Confederation of the British North American Provinces, 3rd Session, 8th Provincial Parliament of Canada, pages 367-68 (bottom right) and elsewhere.  Also see Page 372 et seq.  While you’re at it, grab a free lesson on the Constitution for Dummies:  The Constitution 101:  Canadian Federalism and Self-Government for Dummies<; and in French:  La Constitution 101:  Le Fédéralisme canadien et l’autonomie pour les Nuls.


1 thought on “Soldier of Christ, an update:  A Papal Encyclical motivated Arcand’s political fight

  1. Pingback: Letter of Adrien Arcand to Premier Daniel Johnson, on Unitary Authority (13 June 1963) | Down With Hate!

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