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Principal religions and denominations

A strong religious identity

Be it in its early history (the Old Regime), in Liberal times, or during the Republic, Portugal presents us with some specific characteristics we may still encounter nowadays. On the one hand, (...)

Be it in its early history (the Old Regime), in Liberal times, or during the Republic, Portugal presents us with some specific characteristics we may still encounter nowadays. On the one hand, there is a religious identity that mixes, almost symbiotically, with the very cultural identity of the nation; on the other hand, a quasi constant fight between political or cultural factions and a meaningful part of the Roman Catholic clergy.

According to the 1900’ census, only 5.000 Portuguese were non-Christian Roman Catholics. This number shows us the nearly total lack of religious diversity in Portugal, at the time of the beginning of the Republican regime.

After the 1930’s, however, the Estado Novo (New State) continued the strength of Roman Catholicism in the nation. Generically emphasising religious freedom, an inheritance impossible to lose since the First Republic, it was assumed in those times, becoming part of educational programmes, that the nation only had one religion: Catholicism.

There are twenty dioceses in Portugal, grouped into three ecclesiastical provinces: Braga, Lisbon, and Évora.

D 28 September 2012    AJosé Carlos Calazans ALuís Seabra Melancia APaulo Jorge Soares Mendes Pinto

The current situation

The major religion remains Roman Catholic. According to the results of the latest Census in 2011, 81% of Portuguese people are Catholic, 3,6% from other religions and 6,8% have no religion.
For (...)

The major religion remains Roman Catholic. According to the results of the latest Census in 2011, 81% of Portuguese people are Catholic, 3,6% from other religions and 6,8% have no religion.

For further information, see the article "Religions and Secularism in Portugal: mainly a lingering monotheism" (September 2015) by H. Machado Jorge on O-Re-La website.

D 17 September 2015    AHelena Vilaça AMaria João Oliveira

Study "Religious Identities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Region" (2018)

D 8 January 2019   

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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