Louis-François Richer Laflèche

Louis-François Richer Laflèche, Roman Catholic bishop (b at Ste-Anne-de-la-Pérade [La Pérade, Qué], LC 4 Sept 1818; d at Trois-Rivières, Qué 14 July 1898).

Laflèche, Louis-François Richer

Louis-François Richer Laflèche, Roman Catholic bishop (b at Ste-Anne-de-la-Pérade [La Pérade, Qué], LC 4 Sept 1818; d at Trois-Rivières, Qué 14 July 1898). After a diversified career as missionary to Rupert's Land (1844-56), professor and administrator of the Collège de Nicolet (1856-61) and diocesan bursar (1861-66), he became bishop of Trois-Rivières (coadjutor, 1867-70; titular, 1870-98). A faithful disciple of Monseigneur Ignace Bourget, he was a member of the intransigent Ultramontane group that battled liberalism and opposed Archbishop E.A. Taschereau and his allies over the Programme catholique, the university question, the issue of undue clerical influence in electoral campaigns and the reform of the Civil Code; after 1876 he was the recognized and unyielding leader of the group.

Despite his weakened standing within the office of the archbishop and in Rome he again took up the cudgels over the Manitoba Schools Question and was supported by most Québec bishops. When the pope refused to condemn the compromise policy of Wilfrid Laurier, Laflèche acquiesced and until his death devoted himself to his religious duties. His ideas, summarized in his Quelques considérations sur les rapports de la société civile avec la religion et la famille (1866), had a long-lasting influence on nationalist and Catholic circles in Québec.

See also Ultramontanism.


Further Reading

  • Nive Voisine, Louis-François Laflèche, deuxième évêque de Trois-Rivières (1 vol to date, 1980).