Quebec : Secularisation Continues

Source: FSSPX News

“Not a week goes by without talk of closing and selling churches or of demolishing convents”, claims Luc Noppen, specialist in urban patrimony at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and author of several works on the subject.

The latest religious edifice to have been sold is the imposing Monastery of the Precious Blood, at Trois-Rivières, which will be transformed into a residential building by a private company.  In the sale of their convent, the Sisters of the Precious Blood did not require any particular clause as is often the case for the sale of a church or a monastery.  Luc Noppen is hardly surprised: if ten years ago the sale of a church was exceptional, “today it has become a part of our every day life”.  Jocelyn Groulx, director of the Council of Religious Patrimony of Quebec, points out for his part that every year about twenty churches are closed in Quebec, “for lack of faithful and money to maintain them, while the priests are all in their seventies.”

In Roberval, in the administrative region of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, the church St. John de Brébeuf, closed since October 26, 2008, will also be transformed into a residential building.  Eleven “condominiums” will be constructed there during the next few months.  The transformation of this neo-gothic edifice will cost about 1 million Canadian dollars.  The real estate developers have promised to “respect the religious mark of the place”... The church, constructed in 1930, was placed under the patronage of the Canadian martyrs – of whom Fr. John de Brebeuf is one – canonized June 29, 1930.

At present there are still some 3000 churches and a thousand convents in Quebec, the heritage of a Catholic past that was once the pride of the inhabitants of the Belle Province.  These inhabitants, however, are neglecting their heritage more and more year after year, especially since the “Quiet Revolution” of the sixties, which was marked by a separation of the State and the Catholic Church, who was once present in all the spheres of society. (Sources: apic/rvm – DICI n°216, June 5, 2010)