As a Christian I believe that the most of all our social programs come from the Church but all too often the Church goes through times when they forget what they are called to do (see my last article) So who takes over? Let’s look at the case of Montréal in the 1800’s there were no real social programs The Church ran hospitals but if you weren’t sick you were on your own. Amidst this sea of disconcern there was one voice that spoke out for the little guy the poor sailor. This voice spoke out against the Church. The Church was failing and this man knew it. Who was he , Joe Beef, an Irishman whose real name was Charles McKiernan. He hated Churches and Churchmen. He hung a sign on his business (a tavern) that read as follows;
He cares not for Pope, Priest, Parson, or King William of the Boyne; all Joe wants is the Coin. He trusts in God in summer time to keep him from all harm; when he sees the first frost and snow poor old Joe trusts to the Almighty Dollar and good old maple wood to keep his belly warm, for Churches, Chapels, Ranters, Preachers, Beechers and such stuff Montreal has already got enough.
His tavern was known to stranded sailors as a place they could always get a meal and a warm place to sleep in exchange for chopping a few cords of firewood. He was generous and gave of his excess. When Joe died in 1889 all the shops in Montreal closed as he was laid to rest on Mount Royal.