Sin fieles, las iglesias de Canadá se reconvierten en restaurantes, spas y teatros
The radical makeovers of Quebec churches reflect the drastic decline of the Catholic Church in a majority-Catholic Canadian province, where 95 percent of the population went to Mass in the 1950s but only 5 percent do so today.
The sharp drop in church attendance, coupled with spiraling maintenance costs, has made heritage groups, architects and the church itself think creatively to conserve historic buildings at risk of being shuttered or demolished.
As of April, 547 churches in Quebec had been closed, sold or transformed, according to the Québec Religious Heritage Council.
Throughout the centuries in Quebec, the church provided health and education, and dominated life. Towering old crosses still dot hills across the province, monuments to this past.
But the church also opposed divorce, censored books and bullied women to reproduce, and in the 1960s, a generation rose in revolt, a period known as “The Quiet Revolution.”
Mr. St-Georges, 54, of the Théâtre Paradoxe, recalled being told that when his mother was ill and already had nine children, the local priest had insisted that she have a 10th: him. She died shortly thereafter.
“The clergy crossed the line into people’s private lives, so people rebelled,” he said, noting that although he worked in a former church, he no longer attended services.
Gérard Bouchard, an eminent historian and sociologist with the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, noted that playfully subverting the original function of churches was the result of a deep distrust of religious authority.
“Feminism is very strong here,” he said, “and people remember what the church did to their mothers and grandmothers.”
Officials from Quebec’s Roman Catholic Church said the repurposing of churches was a matter of demographics and economic pragmatism, even as they acknowledged that it was often accompanied by heartbreak.
Christian Lépine, the archbishop of Montreal, noted that once a church had been deconsecrated and passed to private hands, the religious authorities could not control how it was used.
The New York Times
The book is on the table.
The pencil is in the box.
The ball is under the bed.
The cucumber is inside your asshole.