Paquet, Louis-Adolphe

Louis-Adolphe Paquet, priest, theologian (b at St Nicolas, Canada E 4 Aug 1859; d at Québec C 24 Feb 1942). Professor at Laval for nearly 60 years, he was French Canada's "national theologian," who guided - some say, created - Québec's archbishops, defining the church's position on public policy and shaping the somewhat defensive "messianic nationalism" of his day. Trained in Rome during the Thomistic revival, Monseigneur Paquet wrote the 4-volume Droit public de l'église (Public Law of the Church) (1908-15), a standard text in ultramontanist terms on the relations between church and state.

Having grown up during the disappointing period of the North-West Rebellion, Paquet moderated the aggressive nationalism of his predecessors Bourget and Laflèche in a 1902 public address on the vocation of the French race in America, calling on French Canadian Catholics to guard their faith, language and soil from contamination by materialistic foreigners. He formulated the church's official position on such issues as the Manitoba Schools Question 1896, Ontario's Regulation 17 (1912) and overseas conscription 1917. A powerful orator, systematizer and teacher, he shaped the church leaders of his day, but his influence waned in the face of the social problems that arose during urbanization in the 1920s.