Roman Catholic Church in Canada

Template:Infobox Christian denomination

The Catholic Church in Canada is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and the Canadian Bishops Conference. It has the largest number of followers of a religion in Canada with 46% of Canadians (13,070,000 as of 2008) baptized as Catholics. There are 72 dioceses and about 8,000 priests in Canada. According to the 2001 census, Quebec was home to 6,022,000 Catholics, or nearly half of the total.


Catholicism arrived in Canada in 1497, when John Cabot landed on Newfoundland and 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 Roman Catholic Church.[1] A letter of John Day states that Cabot landed on 24 June 1497 and "went ashore with a crucifix and raised banners bearing the arms of the Holy Father". In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded the first Catholic colony in Quebec City. Later, in 1611, he established a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal, which later became a Catholic colony for trade and missionary activity.

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.[2] In 1627 Calvert brought two Roman Catholic priests to Avalon. This was the first continuous Roman 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.[3]


The Roman Catholic population in Canada in 2011.

Province Roman Catholics %
 Ontario 3,948,975 31.2%
 Quebec 5,766,750 74.5%
 British Columbia 679,310 15.0%
 Alberta 850,355 23.8%
 Manitoba 294,495 25.0%
 Nova Scotia 297,655 32.8%
 Saskatchewan 287,190 28.5%
 New Brunswick 366,000 49.7%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 181,550 35.8%
 Prince Edward Island 58,880 42.9%
 Northwest Territories 15,755 38.7%
 Yukon 6,095 18.3%
 Nunavut 7,580 23.9%
Canada 12,728,885 38.7%


Within Canada the hierarchy consists of:

There is also a Ukrainianan Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, which has suffragan dioceses in Edmonton, New Westminster, Saskatoon, and Toronto.

There are also three other eparchies in Canada:

  • The Eparchy of Saint-Maron de Montréal (Maronite)
  • The Eparchy of Saint-Sauveur de Montréal (Melkite) and
  • The Eparchy of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Toronto (Slovakian)
  • Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto (Chaldean)

There is a Military Ordinariate of Canada for Canadian military personnel.

See also

Further reading

  • Fay, Terence J. A History of Canadian Catholics: Gallicanism, Romanism, and Canadianism (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Johnston, Angus Anthony. A History of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia; Volume I: 1611- 1827 (1960)
  • Lahey, Raymond J. The First Thousand Years: A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Canada (2002)
  • Morice, A G. History Of The Catholic Church In Western Canada: From Lake Superior To The Pacific (1659–1895) (2 vol; reprint Nabu Press, 2010)
  • Murphy, Terrence, and Gerald Stortz, eds, Creed and Culture: The Place of English-Speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750 – 1930 (1993)


Template:R-C provinces in Canada

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.