Catholic Church in Canada
The Catholic Church in Canada is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. As of 2011[update], it has the largest number of adherents to a Christian denomination and a religion in Canada, with 38.7% of Canadians (12.81 million) baptized as Catholics. There are 73 dioceses and about 7,000 priests in Canada.
Catholic Church in Canada
|Associations||Canadian Council of Churches|
|Members||38.7% of Canadians (12,810,705 as of 2011) baptized as Catholics|
French Reign in CanadaEdit
Catholicism arrived in the territory later known as Canada in 1497, when John Cabot landed on Newfoundland, raised the Venetian and Papal banners and claimed the land for his sponsor King Henry VII of England, while recognizing the religious authority of the Catholic Church. A letter of John Day states that Cabot landed on 24 June 1497 and "he landed at only one spot of the mainland, near the place where land was first sighted, and they disembarked there with a crucifix and raised banners with the arms of the Holy Father and those of the King of England". In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded the first Catholic colony in Quebec City.
Missionary work among Indigenous peoples began in the early 1610s as a stipulated condition to the colonization projects of the King of France. Historian Robert Choquette credits secular priest Jessé Fleché as the first to perform dozens of baptisms on Indigenous peoples, which impacted the religious landscape of Mi'kma'ki. Jessé Fleché's ministry was criticized by Jesuits who believed Fleché erred in baptizing neophytes without teaching them the Catholic faith beforehand. In 1611, the Society of Jesus started its missionary work in Acadia. Unlike their predecessor, the Jesuits began their work on Mi'kma'ki by learning the local language and living alongside the Mi'kmaq in order to instruct and convert them to Catholicism.
In 1620, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore purchased a tract of land in Newfoundland from Sir William Vaughan and established a colony, calling it Avalon, after the legendary spot where Christianity was introduced to Britain. In 1627 Calvert brought two Catholic priests to Avalon. This was the first continuous Catholic ministry in British North America. Despite the severe religious conflicts of the period, Calvert secured the right of Catholics to practice their religion unimpeded in Newfoundland, and embraced the novel principle of religious tolerance, which he wrote into the Charter of Avalon and the later Charter of Maryland. The Colony of Avalon was thus the first North American jurisdiction to practice religious tolerance.
British Rule in CanadaEdit
In the way of the Canada Conquest in 1759, New France became a British colony. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church continued to grow in Canada due to the flexibility imposed on the British regime in Canada by the sovereigns of the United Kingdom who always spoke in favor of the protection of Catholicism and French-speaking people in Canada. This historical perspective still influences Canadian society today.
Fears of the Catholic Church were quite strong in the 19th century, especially among Presbyterian and other Protestant Irish immigrants across Canada. In 1853, the Gavazzi Riots left 10 dead in Quebec in the wake of Catholic Irish protest against anti-Catholic speeches by ex-monk Alessandro Gavazzi.
The major flashpoint was public support for Catholic French language schools. Although the Confederation Agreement of 1867 guaranteed the status of Catholic schools where they had been legalized, disputes erupted in numerous provinces, especially in the Manitoba Schools Question in the 1890s and Ontario in the 1910s. In Ontario, Regulation 17 was a regulation by the Ontario Ministry of Education, that restricted the use of French as a language of instruction to the first two years of schooling. French Canada reacted vehemently and resisted the implementation of the Regulation. This conflict, which was first rooted in linguistic and cultural questions, transformed into a religious divide. In 1915, Ontario clergy was divided between French Canadian and Irish allegiances, with the Irish supporting the position of the provincial government. Pope Benedict XV asked his Canadian representative to study the divide in order to reestablish unity among the Catholic church in the province of Ontario. Regulation 17 is among the reasons why French Canada distanced itself from the war effort, as its young men refused to enlist.
Protestant elements succeeded in blocking the growth of French-language Catholic public schools. The Irish Catholics generally supported the English language position advocated by the Protestants. Despite this, French language education in Ontario continues today in Catholic and public schools.
French versus IrishEdit
The central theme of Catholic history from the 1840s through the 1920s was the contest for control of the church between the French, based in Quebec, and the English-speaking Irish (along with smaller numbers of Catholic Scots, English, and others) based in Ontario. The French Catholics saw Catholics in general as God's chosen people (versus Protestants) and the French as more truly Catholic than any other ethnic group. The fact that the Irish Catholics formed coalition with the anti-French Protestants further infuriated the French.(source needed)</ref>
The Irish Catholics collaborated with Protestants inside Canada, on the school issue: they opposed French language Catholic schools. The Irish had a significant advantage since they were favoured by the Vatican. Irish Catholicism was "ultramontane", which meant its adherents professed total obedience to the Pope. By contrast, the French bishops in Canada kept their distance from the Vatican. In the form of Regulation 17 this became the central issue that finally alienated the French in Quebec from the Canadian Anglophone establishment during the First World War. Ontario's Catholics were led by the Irish Bishop Fallon, who united with the Protestants in opposing French schools. Regulation 17 was repealed in 1927. The French-speakers remain more liberal than the English-speakers to this day, and in addition are also leaving the faith much more quickly.
One by one, the Irish took control of the church in each province except for Quebec. Tensions were especially high in Manitoba at the end of the 19th century. In Alberta in the 1920s, a new Irish bishop undermined French language Catholic schooling, and removed the Francophile order of teaching sisters.
In the Dominion of Newfoundland (which was an independent dominion before joining Canada in 1949), politics was polarized around religious lines, with the Protestants confronting the Irish Catholics.
In 1861, the Protestant governor dismissed the Catholic Liberals from office and the ensuing election was marked by riot and disorder with both the Anglican bishop Edward Feild and Catholic bishop John Thomas Mullock taking partisan stances. The Protestants narrowly elected Hugh Hoyles as the Conservative Prime Minister. Hoyles suddenly reversed his long record of militant Protestant activism and worked to defuse tensions. He shared patronage and power with the Catholics; all jobs and patronage were split between the various religious bodies on a per capita basis. This 'denominational compromise' was further extended to education when all religious schools were put on the basis which the Catholics had enjoyed since the 1840s. Newfoundland's denominational schools were funded by the province until the late 1990s. In the fall of 1998, Newfoundland officially adopted a non-denominational school system, following two referenda and judgements by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and its Court of Appeal that constitutionally recognized the end of provincially-funded Catholic schools.
It appears that across Canada the Catholic Church is declining, resulting in closures of more and more churches in all provinces and territories of country. It should also be noted that identification with Catholicism (as well as to Christianity) in Canada is also declining. In addition to this phenomenon, new religious communities are being established in relation to newcomers to Canada.
|% 2001||% 2011||Δ% Change|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||187,440||181,550||-3.1%||36.9%||35.8%||-1.1%|
|Prince Edward Island||63,265||58,880||-6.9%||47.4%||42.9%||-4.5%|
The Catholic population underwent its first recorded drop between 2001 and 2011. Notable trends include the de-Catholicization of Quebec, a drop in the Catholic population in small provinces with stagnant populations, and a rise in Catholics in the large English-speaking provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. Immigration has not helped prevent the decline in the Catholic population; the only major source of Catholic immigrants to Canada is the Philippines. There are also adherents of Eastern Catholic Churches who had already migrated to Canada, most notably the Ukrainians.
According to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canada is divided in four Episcopal assemblies: the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, the Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops. The Pope is represented in Canada by the Apostolic Nunciature in Canada (Ottawa).
Within Canada, the Latin hierarchy consists of:
One former Canadian bishopric, the francophone Diocese of Gravelbourg in Saskatchewan, has since its suppression in 1998 become a titular episcopal see, which may be bestowed on any Latin bishop without proper diocese, working in the Roman Curia or anywhere in the world.
- Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton
- Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of New Westminster
- Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon
- Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada in Toronto.
- also Byzantine rite:
- (Greek-)Melkite Eparchy of Saint-Sauveur de Montréal, immediately subject to the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch
- Slovak Catholic Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto, directly subject to the Metropolitan sui juris of Prešov
- Antiochian Rite: Maronite Eparchy of Saint-Maron de Montréal, immediately subject to the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
- Chaldean Rite: Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto, directly dependent on the Patriarch of Babylon
- Syrian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate for Canada (directly dependent on the Holy See)
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Canada (directly dependent on the Holy See)
A few Eastern particular church communities are pastorally served from the United States:
- Armenian Rite: Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg in New York, directly subject to the Patriarch of Cilicia
- Byzantine: Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St George's in Canton, bishopric for the diaspora in North America (including Canada), with cathedral see in Canton, Ohio
Canadian Catholic personalitiesEdit
Patron Saint of CanadaEdit
Notable Canadian CatholicsEdit
- Jim Carrey (Ontario)
- John Candy (Ontario)
- Paul Martin (Ontario)
- Wilfrid Laurier (Province of Quebec) 
- Pierre Trudeau (Province of Quebec)
- François de Laval (bishop)
- Frère André
- Kateri Tekakwitha
- Marguerite Bourgeoys
- Marie de l'Incarnation
- Saints Martyrs canadiens
- Vasyl Velychkovsky (Manitoba)
- Catherine de Saint-Augustin
- Dina Bélanger
- Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin
- Frédéric Janssoone
- Louis-Zéphirin Moreau
- Nykyta Budka (Manitoba)
- Marie-Léonie Paradis
- Marie-Rose Durocher
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- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Observatory of religious freedom - Presentation of the religious situation in Canada
- History of Catholics in Canada - The canadian encyclopedia
- Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
- Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec
- Military Ordinariate of Canada
- Apostolic Nunciature in Canada
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