Some would say this has been happening for a while in the once thoroughly Catholic province, but a few recent stories out of the Vatican seem to have pushed some Catholic Quebecois over the edge and into formally disavowing the church. One was the pope’s statements against condoms to prevent AIDS, and the other was the tragic story of the excommunications in Brazil stemming from a nine-year-old girl who had an abortion after being impregnated by her abusive stepfather.

Again, The National Post has coverage:  

Like most Quebecers of her generation, Sylvie Drouin was born into a Catholic family but stopped practising her religion years ago. “I was neither for nor against the Catholic Church,” said the interior designer, now in her 50s.

That was until a few weeks ago, when she and her husband were driving to the ski hills and heard a report on the Pope’s comments discouraging condom use in Africa.

“It was the final straw,” Ms. Drouin said, and in a letter to Le Devoir yesterday, she and her husband joined 24 others in seeking to be declared apostate by the Church. They are part of a nascent movement among Quebec Catholics to formally break off from the province’s dominant religion.

The letter’s signatories were mostly from Montreal, but Church officials are reporting a similar push in the Quebec City region. The diocese there reported 50 requests for apostasy — the renunciation of one’s faith — in the past month; usually it receives about 20 such requests in an entire year.

But on the other hand, as the story notes…

The Catholic archdiocese of Montreal does not disclose the number of apostasy requests it receives but Lucie Martineau, a spokeswoman, confirmed that there has been an increase in line with what was seen in Quebec City. She called the requests “disappointing” but noted that about 150 adults are to be baptized at a service in Montreal on April 11. “There are people who leave, but there are people who enter as well,” she said.

Douglas Farrow, associate professor of Christian thought at McGill University, said one can become apostate simply by denying Catholic faith and morals, he said. A formal request for ex-communication is not necessary.

“Frankly this strikes me as very gimmicky,” he said. “Most people don’t bother [writing a letter]. They just go away.”

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