Montreal Removing the Crucifix from City Chambers

Montreal is Removing the Crucifix from City Chambers

Montreal Removing the Crucifix from City Chambers
Erik Dunham [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The move reflects the Canadian city’s modern secular ethos.

Members of the executive committee of the council chambers of Montreal have decided to take down the crucifix which presently hangs in the City Hall.[/tweetit] The building is set to undergo renovations, and the crucifix will be removed. As per the administration, the renovations make an excellent opportunity to take away the crucifix.

Montreal is Removing the Crucifix from City Chambers[/tweetthis]

Its removal is significant as Quebec tries to balance a Catholic past with its present-day secular ethos. Any discussion about the cross will invariably drag in the position of other religious symbols like the hijab in the state and whether they could be worn or displayed in public. One of the most prominent religious artifacts in the province is a 31-meter tall illuminated crucifix fixed above Mount Royal; a tree-lined home housing the soul of the Canadian city.

The city of Montreal bought the half-meter size bust of Jesus Christ hanging in the council chambers in 1937. Joseph-Emile Dubreuil, the then alderman, paid $25 for it. The depiction of Christ was needed, as per Dubreuil, to remind other government workers of the allegiances they made to God when they went about completing their civic duties.

Quebec is no stranger to religious artifacts. These are sprinkled over multiple public buildings, and the province has the most prominent Catholic population in Canada. Many cities, villages, and towns are named after saints. However, the early part of the 1960s witnessed a modernizing phase when the Catholic church lost its influence over the state residents. It was known as the “Quiet Revolution.” The city continues to debate regarding space and place provided to religious minorities. Some Canadians regard the latter as a threat to godlessness which came after a long struggle.

According to Valerie Plante, the Mayor of Montreal, the council chamber crucifix is a part of an illustrious lineage of the city’s history and heritage. However, as a symbol, the religious artifact fails to mirror modern-day secularism present in the city’s democratic institutions. She said the decision recognizes secularism’s rise in the public institution and as per her opinion, there exists a sharp distinction between institutional secularism and individual secularism. The mayor said Montreal city will not remove the Mount Royal cross as the said mountain cannot be described as a secular institution.


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