QUEBEC --LONGING FOR ITS CATHOLIC ROOTS?
Take time to watch this music video--pay close attention to the lyrics. The song was voted song of the year by the Quebec public.
From globeandmail.com: "The song – whose title is a play on words that evokes both history and decline – was originally rejected by radio stations when it was released in 2004. Programmers thought its preachy tone praising great-great-grandfathers for clearing the land, and dissing their descendants for selling it off to become civil servants, would not fly with listeners. They thought the song's glorification of great-great-grandmothers with 14 kids, and its contempt for young women who today cover up their “stupidities” by getting an abortion, was definitely not Top 40 material.
"Its lyrics sparked living-room discussions and newspaper editorials, all of which became even more salient when the debate over the “reasonable accommodation” of religious minorities by Quebec's lapsed-Catholic majority broke out.
Within weeks, the whole province was thrust into the cauldron of identity politics, as Quebeckers grappled with what it means to be Québécois in an era of increasing religious and ethnic diversity."
As one social commentator put it: "It simply speaks to a prevailing sense among many young Quebeckers that their society has lost its bearings and that one way to get them back is re-embrace what it has always meant to be a Québécois in the first place: their language, families and memory.
There is so far scant evidence that this desire to “re-root” is driving young Quebeckers back into the pews. Nor are they marrying in the church in greater numbers. Indeed, Quebec leads the nation, and the world, in common-law unions. But that does not mean young Quebeckers are willing to purge their society of its Catholic traditions, something that, next to sovereignty, was job one for many of their baby boomer parents.
And parents have decried Ministry of Education plans to replace classes on church catechism with a course on world religions and ethics, beginning with the 2008-2009 school year. Quebec's public schools were deconfessionalized almost a decade ago, and catechism classes are no longer mandatory. Still, the vast majority of parents – thirty-somethings, for the most part – enroll their kids in such classes, even though they themselves rarely attend Sunday mass. Why? Because such classes serve not just to teach kids about Catholic doctrine; they are a way to teach them about Quebec's history and traditions.
The Quiet Revolutionaries ...fought tooth and nail to get religion out of Quebec's public institutions and they don't want to go there again. But many, mostly younger, Quebeckers, those who never felt the church's claws, don't carry the same baggage toward something their own parents never showed or taught them: faith.
Quebec is surely not on the cusp of some Catholic revival. But the success of Dégénérations...does suggest there is a longing among the post-Quiet Revolution generation to fill the vacuum that was left when their elders sent the priests a-packing. It's as if, on the eve of the 400th anniversary of Champlain's founding of Quebec, they want desperately to remember what their parents have spent a lifetime trying to forget. It's as if they were truer to the spirit of a famous line in Louis Hémon's classic 1913 novel Maria Chapdelaine: “In Quebec, nothing must die and nothing must change.”
Let's hope and pray that this is an indication of what is to come in the West. Maybe the younger generations who have been neglected by their parents spiritually are lamenting the abandonment of Catholicism and the peace that comes from a "simple" life free from the tortures of living in mortal sin and in defiance of God's laws.