The Very Catholic Side Of Canada’s National Anthem

Although the country was founded in 1608, the Canadian Confederation is still very young in celebrating its 150th birthday. And truly Canada has seen better days. The prime minister is a good looking idiot, some following truly wicked ideologies petition for our flag being switched for a colourful maple leaf… I could go on about the state of decadence inside of Canada.

But let us look at something truly Canadian, and truly great! Canada’s National Anthem was originally written en Français in 1880, for the occasion of the feast of Saint John the Baptist. However, it took more than a quarter of a century for it to be « translated » into english and to this day, the english version is deeply different. Why did it take that long? Well, the original hymn is deeply Catholic, deeply french-patriotic, and it shows what it meant (and should mean) to be Canadian for those of French descent. The original hymn talks about Saint John the Baptist, about the Papacy and the Holy Mass, about evangelizing foreign nations, how the Catholic Faith would protect both home and rights. How could it have been so Catholic? Why has it been forgotten? Simply read it, and everything shall be made clear.

Below is the generally accepted translation (taken from Wikipedia) along with my emphases and [better translations & comments]. I am also including the official English version, just to compare a bit, because they are in fact two different anthems, and show what it used to be to be a Canadien-Français and an English-Canadian (as a side note, the term Canadian was used ONLY for the Francophones until 1967).

Wikipedia’s English Translation

O Canada!

Land of our ancestors[forefathers]

Glorious deeds [fleurons : « what is most remarquable & enviable » references also le fleur de lys] circle [or gird] your brow!

For your arm knows how to wield [also keepthe sword

Your arm [He] knows how to carry the cross; [!]

Your history is an epic

Of [most] brilliant deeds.

And your valour, steeped in faith [of faith steeped]

Will protect our homes and our rights,

Will protect our homes and our rights.

Under the eye of God, near the giant river,

The Canadian grows hoping. […what could be that hope?]

He was [is] born of a proud [or noble/worthy] race,

Blessed was his birthplace [cradle].

Heaven has noted [or marked/imprinted] his career

In this new world.

Always guided by its light,

He will keep the honour of his flag,

He will keep the honour of his flag. [that « flag » is the Carillon-Sacré-Cœur, which is the logo of this site]

From his patron, the precursor of the true God, [established patron of the French-Canadians, even to those living outside Canada, by Pope Pius X, 10 May 1908]

He wears the halo of fire on his brow.

Enemy of tyranny [French Revolutionaries, Protestant England & USA]

But full of loyalty, [France is our motherland & England allowed us to keep our language, our French law, & our Catholic religion, if we defended Canada against the invasion of USA in 1775. We did, and we kept our promise as long as England kept hers]

He wants to keep in harmony,

His proud freedom;

And by the effort of his genius,

Set on our ground the truth,

Set on our ground the truth.

Sacred love of the throne and the altar[in other words : papacy & the Holy Mass]

Fill our hearts with your immortal breath!

Among the foreign races, [between 1880 and 1930, 250 000 missionary priests & religious left Canada to evangelize abroad, out of around 5 million French-Canadians in all of North America]

Our guide is the law:

Let us know how to be a people [or nation] of brothers,

Under the yoke of faith.

And [let us] repeat, like our fathers,

The battle [victorious] cry: « For Christ and King! »

The battle [victorious] cry: « For Christ and King! »

Official English Version

O Canada!

Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The True North strong and free! [no mentions of carrying the cross]

From far and wide,

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.


God keep our land glorious and free! [God is finally mentioned!]

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. [here it is « the people » and not the Faith who guards Canada]

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow.

Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.

How dear to us thy broad domain,

From East to Western sea.

Thou land of hope for all who toil!

Thou True North, strong and free! [here it would have mentioned keeping the honour of the flag, but Canada didn’t have one yet…]


O Canada! Beneath thy shining skies

May stalwart sons, and gentle maidens rise,

To keep thee steadfast through the years

From East to Western sea.

Our own beloved native land!

Our True North, strong and free! [where is St John the Baptist? Hmm, maybe the king of England didn’t enjoy what he had to say about marriage…]


Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,

Hold our Dominion in thy loving care;

Help us to find, O God, in thee

A lasting, rich reward,

As waiting for the better Day,

We ever stand on guard. [of course, no mentions of the Pope, or of the Holy Mass]


Official French Version 

Ô Canada!

Terre de nos aïeux,

Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!

Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,

Il sait porter la croix!

Ton histoire est une épopée

Des plus brillants exploits.

Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Sous l’œil de Dieu, près du fleuve géant,

Le Canadien grandit en espérant.

Il est né d’une race fière,

Béni fut son berceau.

Le ciel a marqué sa carrière

Dans ce monde nouveau.

Toujours guidé par sa lumière,

Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau,

Il gardera l’honneur de son drapeau.

De son patron, précurseur du vrai Dieu,

Il porte au front l’auréole de feu.

Ennemi de la tyrannie

Mais plein de loyauté,

Il veut garder dans l’harmonie,

Sa fière liberté;

Et par l’effort de son génie,

Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité,

Sur notre sol asseoir la vérité.

Amour sacré du trône et de l’autel,

Remplis nos cœurs de ton souffle immortel!

Parmi les races étrangères,

Notre guide est la loi :

Sachons être un peuple de frères,

Sous le joug de la foi.

Et répétons, comme nos pères,

Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi! »

Le cri vainqueur : « Pour le Christ et le roi! »

Saint John the Baptist, precursor of the Messiah & patron of the French-Canadians: Pray for us!

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