Religion in Quebec
This is a delicate and sensitive subject. However, at a web site dedicated to integration of newcomers to Quebec it’s impossible to hush it up.
At the time of New France, it’s religion that shaped Quebec and conditioned the confrontation between French-speaking and English-speaking people.
French Catholics were in perpetual conflict with English and Dutch Protestants. Irish Catholics arrived in 19th century joined French Catholics. Indians, who were opposed to evangelization, became an instrument in a war of power from the outset of murderous conflicts between Catholics and Protestants.
In 18th century, further to the Edict of Nantes, France forbade representatives of other religions to settle in Canada. However, the role of the Church in Quebec history is far from being negligible, as territory exploration and social organization, health care and education system, moral support to colonists in the time of frost and wars, financing of big projects resulted from initiatives of priests, nuns and monks.
Catholicism has always been the first religion of the province. It attracted Italian, Polish, Ukrainian and Latin-American (especially Haitian) immigration. Inside the Protestant community, Anglicans are the most represented group. The Jewish community is also very large. Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have more recently been introduced by immigrants coming from Asia and Maghreb countries. There are some other smaller but well-known religious observances in Quebec, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses or the famous and controversial Order of the Solar Temple.
Since the Quiet Revolution, religion has lost a part of its role in Quebec way of life but yet continues to be an important factor: today 80% of Quebec population have declared themselves Catholics, around 10% of the population is Protestant, the rest being observants of other religions, agnostics or atheists.
Sanctuary of the St. Patrick's Church in Montreal. Photo : © Provincequebec.com