Our Canadian freedom of spirituality and religious attendance probably originated as early as 1759. A long evolution of our religion beliefs as well as a freedom of religion from one generation to another. Beliefs that, nowadays, are taking us to new and contrasting avenues.
A rather large number of Montrealers no longer have religion beliefs while different types of religion such as the Islam, Buddhism, Hindu and Sikh religions are more present and more often seen in our church landscape.
The evolution of our spirituality and of our beliefs from one generation to another is taking new and contrasting avenues, largely because of our local cultural diversity and largely because of the absence of religious affiliations by many of us.
Secularism is the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as the absence of government involvement in religious affairs. In political terms, secularism is the separation of religion on one side and politics on the other.
A secular government such as ours is non-religious, but not anti-religious. A cultural evolution that now favors the secularism of our institutions with respect to each of our local religions and spirituality.
In Canada, our freedom of religion is protected by the Canadian Charter of Human Rights & Freedoms and by the Canadian Human Rights Act. As for Bill 21 of the province of Quebec which passed in 2019 it "bars public school teachers, police officers, judges and government lawyers, among other civil servants in positions of authority, from wearing religious symbols — such as hijabs, crucifixes or turbans — while at work".
Our personal religion and spirituality evolved over the years. Nowadays, some of us do feel part of a specific religion and culture but choose not to participate to its rituals. Others chose their own religion or simply reject any religious counseling.
Our parishes are abolished or merged, our churches are leased, sold or shared with other churches and our approach to our society and religious culture reflects a more contemporary socio-cultural evolution.
Then again, our Montreal religious beliefs keep shining through our church architecture with its steeples, church bells and stained glass windows. A church architecture that still shines through a series of dynamic lines, assorted shapes and symbolic forms our society has created over the years.
Raising up churches, basilicas and cathedrals relies upon capital, labor and technology while church interior design relies upon creativity, craftsmanship and skills.
Our church architecture with its impressive structures, glorious church interior design, ornamented church floor plans, majestic ceilings and other rich ornaments such as altars, pulpits and crucifix continue to offer an abundance of authentic qualities and beauties.
A church is either a building or the body of Christ. A basilica is a large and important church and a cathedral is the largest and most impressive church of a diocese.
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank and an archdiocese is a larger and more important diocese. A diocese is a district divided into parishes. The diocese is under the authority of a diocesan bishop, while the parish is under the pastoral care of a parish priest.
The spirituality, the "sacred" is related to religion beliefs and religion beliefs are related to the religion symbols and tangible images or objects that express our mystical and spiritual beliefs. Montrealers may not be attending organized religious services as often as they used to, but this does not necessarily mean they are less spiritual.
To get a more complete and more precise picture of Montreal religion beliefs, one must compare our public religious behavior such as our attendance to religious services to our private religious behavior such as praying, meditating, worshiping or reading the sacred texts.
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