Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 19, 2003
Catholic population in Canada up 4.8 percent
By ART BABYCH
"I don't think we should go around waving flags because to some extent it has to do with immigrants, rather than 'great conversions'."
- Msgr. Peter Schonenbach
Seven out of 10 Canadians in the census identified themselves as Roman Catholics or Protestants. Together, they represent 72 per cent of the population in 2001, compared with 80 per cent in 1991.
Statistics Canada said much of the shift in Canada's religious make-up over the past several decades is the result of changing sources of immigrants, which, it said, has contributed to a more diverse religious profile.
Those Canadians who reported simply that they were "Christian," rather than specifying which denomination, increased by 124 per cent - or more than double - during the decade to 780,400, or 2.6 per cent of the population. As well, 16 per cent of Canadians said they had no religion at all, compared to 12 per cent a decade earlier.
The number of Pentecostals dropped 15 per cent to almost 369,000, the United Church witnessed an eight per cent decline to over 2.8 million, the number of Anglicans fell seven per cent to about two million and the Lutherans' numbers dropped by five per cent to 606,000.
However, some of the smaller Protestant denominations showed moderate to large gains in membership. They included the Evangelical Missionary Church, up 48 per cent, to 66,700, Hutterites up 22 per cent to 26,300, Adventists up 20 per cent to 62,900 and Christian and Missionary Alliance, up 12 per cent to 66,300.
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