Thinking Out Loud

February 28, 2009

Quebec: Churches On Sale For $1 – And No Buyers

One church seats 1,000, barely 100 people show up on Sunday, and the offering might be $125. The story of increasingly abandoned, barricaded or demolished churches in Canada’s french-speaking province of Quebec made page four of the print edition of today’s Toronto Star.  Churches are being offered for as low as $1, and even at that price, some don’t sell.

The fire sale of Catholic churches in Quebec continues unabated; they are victims of a population that, more than elsewhere in Canada, has turned its back on organized religion… Parishes are facing the prospect of finding no buyers for their churches… [One church official said,] “Even in selling them for $1, it’s happening that no buyer is interested in the churches for sale. This is new.”

In a country where the percentage of people calling themselves Roman Catholic is nearly twice that of neighbouring United States, Catholic stats for this one province zoom even higher.   There’s a reluctance to sell or close parishes because of Catholic doctrine which stresses the rites and sacraments — particularly the baptism of infants and Christian burial of those who pass on — but those doctrines are insufficient to compel regular attendance at mass.   In other words, even though they still consider themselves Roman Catholic when the census taker calls, most don’t have any consideration of attendance at other times, including marriage — Catholics in Quebec are more likely to live together than be joined in Holy Matrimony.   Many have a personal belief-set that is more atheistic or agnostic than Catholic.

saint-eustache-churchThe story describes an activist bishop in the 1950s wanted to make sure that churches were close at hand in the region of Sherbrooke; that region is now seeing a record number of church sales, with twenty-five sold in the last few years.

The Saint Eustache Church, north of Montreal (pictured here — photo taken from the choir loft) possesses world renowned acoustics and is considering a second life as a recording studio.

You can continue reading the whole Toronto Star story here.


Bonus article

The Eight Things That Destroyed Our Marriage
by Justin Davis

Pete Wilson at the blog Without Wax (see our blogroll) put us on to this series of eight posts in February, 2009 by his friend Justin Davis, and I thought it would be good to have this available as one continuous piece.    It’s now posted here in the “Pages” section of this blog, and will remain up for many months.   You can direct link to it here.



  1. I am a Canadian living in the US now but I did live in Quebec for a time and gave birth to my twin girls there. This is a sad news story but a predictable one. The Catholic church once held a tight grip on the hearts of Quebecers but more recently this generation has found their fit in the evangelical churches…I was on staff in one. The french are expressive and demonstrative so the evangelical way of apporaching God actually was more suited to their temperment. As you drive from tiny town to tiny town, sometimes no more than 5 or 6 miles apart, you are struck that every nook and cranny has a cathedral like catholic church. The fact that not all are able to function is partly the fact that less families are church goers and partly that more families are finding their faith is enhanced in a more charasmatic setting.

    Comment by Cynthia — February 28, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

  2. The Great Apostasy… More people are going to Modernistic American/Canadian mega building or storefront folk Christian Super-fun false profit Rockband entertainme-churchs(™) Enjoy perdition heretics…

    Comment by Will — July 27, 2014 @ 11:37 am

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