Catholicism in Quebec

I grew up in Quebec and still have strong family roots in this magnificent province. This is where I learned about God, Jesus, and the Catholic church. Almost everyone was Catholic, and it seemed as if nuns and priests were everywhere.

Today, however, is another story. Although most of the churches still stand, they (though often empty)seem to be the only real visible sign of Quebec’s Catholic Heritage. Except this Halloween, something I hadn’t really noticed before, startled and surprised me. Many store clerks were in Halloween costumes, and the costume of choice seemed to be clerical dress. I was served by nuns, priests, and even a bishop. What does this mean? The answer to this question I am still pondering. Maybe it is nostalgia for a faith that lies dormant! The remarks of Cardinal Marc Ouelett of Quebec City at a public commission on October 30th (the day before Halloween) will help me find an answer: (This excerpt is from an article on CWN)

Speaking at hearings on the challenges that immigration has posed to Quebec French-speaking culture, Cardinal Ouellet said that the problem of cultural identity can be traced back to “the malaise of the Catholic majority, which needs to find a religious reference point.”

The cardinal said that the secularizing trends of the past generation have deprived Quebec of its cultural heritage, leading to a general breakdown in traditional society. Cardinal Ouellet pointed to the rise in divorce, the drop in births, and the frequency of abortion and suicide as indications of this social breakdown.

“Quebec is ripe for a profound new evangelization,” the cardinal concluded.

Anyway, I will be pondering this phenomena for some time, and next halloween I will have my camera at the ready for a few pictures I can post.

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