98 instinct rather than competition with Belgian, German and British pres- ences in Africa on behalf of France or rivalry with Protestant missions was the motive force for the White Fathers' work. His idea of an Armed Brotherhood, modelled on the Knights of St. John, brought him into conflict with Leopold II, who viewed Lavigerie and armed non-Belgians as a threat to his control of the Congo. The French press, the British Anti-Slavery Society and its Belgian equivalent all responded to his humanitarian passion. The study wisely sets Lavigerie in the context of Roman Catholic developments in France, where he was highly influential. It would be as difficult to understand him as churchman without reference to the French Gallicanism of the day as to understand a figure like the Anglican Bishop in South Africa, Robert Gray, without reference to Tractarianism in England. For Gray, church-state tensions in England produced a bishop determined, like his great contemporary George Selwyn in New Zealand, to create a church which sat loose to legal establishment, with freedom to order its own affairs within a British colonial framework, which presented different ground rules to those obtaining in the home country. For Lavigerie, the
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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