Canadian Catholics should plan for a larger future

Our surveys show that 98 per cent of weekly-attending Quebec Catholics are not open to switching to other religions, only marginally higher than the 97 per cent figure for those who attend monthly through never.

Similarly, evangelical Protestant denominations ”” including Baptist, Pentecostal, Alliance, Christian Reformed and Mennonite groups – have constituted a small but durable collective core of some eight per cent of the population over time. They too have benefitted from immigration from diverse parts of the globe…

…the restructuring of religion in the country is seeing Roman Catholics and evangelicals emerge as the dominant Christian players, with mainline Protestants experiencing a diminishing role in Canadian religious life.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Canada, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

One comment on “Canadian Catholics should plan for a larger future

  1. Mark Baddeley says:

    The basic thesis here rings true and should be kept in mind when people release studies suggesting “the church will cease to exist in year x on current trends”. Such studies betray an ignorance about how religions work in a Western, voluntarist, context.

    There is usually a core of quite committed people who are successful at passing an active faith on to the next generation and/or to the unchurched, even as there is a larger group on a slow slide towards assimilation with secular society. Even the CoE is witnessing strong growth among many of its evangelical parishes, despite the fact that it is going out the back door overall.

    What we are moving towards, as the article suggests, is not a secular society, but a divided society in many Western countries. (Europe would be the exception overall, where the church really is all but dead and working hard to stay that way by trying to keep out more evangelical expressions of the faith.) People will only be ‘Christian’ if they really do believe it is true and live accordingly – the nominals will continue to bleed away. On the other side will be a strongly held, and often activist secularism. In the middle a group that will be more-or-less up for grabs.

    As the media is pro the secular side, they will keep painting this as an inevitable move to a secular society, but I think the future is otherwise.

    While I think the article is right that mainstream protestantism will fade away due to its acculturation with the secular side of society, that won’t end the problem it represents. Both evangelicalism and Catholicism are already finding themselves dividing again internally on more revisionist and more reasserting expressions. Until society as a whole moves on from the Enlightenment (and nothing new seems even vaguely in sight at this stage), this basic division seems to be the basic way in which faithfulness and unbelief will keep being the big theological test each generation.