Jansenism, a theological doctrine which urged greater personal holiness, espoused predestination and was linked to some extent with GALLICANISM. Supported by the writings of St Augustine, it was synthesized by Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638), Roman Catholic bishop of Ypres, in his posthumous Augustinus (1640, condemned by Pope Urban VIII, 1642).
At odds with Rome and particularly critical of the Jesuits, Jansenism was, after 1650, the object of a series of condemnations which shook the church of France. It soon took on a moralistic tone and rigorously opposed all laxity; it also became the vehicle for opinion hostile to Roman centralism. New France, firmly under Jesuit control, was little touched by doctrinal Jansenism, although there were a few enthusiasts. Nevertheless the moral rigour of Mgr de SAINT-VALLIER and his successors drew on Jansenist morality, for it was inspired by the same Augustinian source, though it had different theological bases; yet it was sometimes nourished by the reading of certain Jansenist texts. The ULTRAMONTANIST religious movement of the mid-19th century swept away the last traces of this indirect influence in Canada, without in the process eliminating the rigour itself.