Catholic Church in Tunisia
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There are around 20,000 Catholics in this predominantly Islamic country, which forms a single diocese - the Archdiocese of Tunis. Accordingly, the only Catholic cathedral is that of St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis. The building was completed in 1897, while Tunisia was a French protectorate. Catholic influence during the colonial period also included extensive missionary work by the French Primate of Africa, Cardinal Lavigerie. The cathedral in his time was the church of Saint Louis in Carthage, was also built in the 19th century, when the archdiocese, under Cardinal Lavigerie, held the primacy of all Roman Africa.
The number of Catholics fell following Tunisian independence. The ownership of many Catholic buildings, including the Saint Louis Cathedral, was transferred to the state under a modus vivendi reached between the Holy See and the Republic of Tunisia.
Catholics form the majority (around 20,000 out of 25,000) of Christians in the country. However, only about 500 of these Catholics regularly practice. The Diocese of Tunis operates 12 churches, 9 schools, several libraries, and 2 clinics. In addition to holding religious services, the Catholic Church has opened a monastery, freely organized cultural activities, and performed charitable work throughout the country. Occasionally, Catholic religious groups hold services in private residences or other locations.
- "Holy See, Tunisia Sign Accord; Church Cedes Considerable Property", The Guardian 17 July 1964
- International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Tunisia. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- William D. Montalbano, Pope Seeks Tolerance in Visit to Tunisia. Los Angeles Times. April 13, 1966.
- William D. Montalbano. Pope Urges Dialogue With Muslims. Los Angeles Times. April 15, 1996. There are an estimated 8.5 million Muslims in Tunisia.
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