Roman Catholicism in Tunisia

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The Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis is the only operational Catholic cathedral in the country.

The Roman Catholic Church in Tunisia is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.


There are around 20,000 Catholics in this predominantly Islamic country, which forms a single diocese - the Archdiocese of Tunis. The sole active cathedral is St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis, 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. Another cathedral, Saint Louis in Carthage, was also built in the 19th century and for some years had the primacy of all Africa under Cardinal Lavigerie.

Tunisian Independence[edit]

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 Vatican and the Republic of Tunisia.[citation needed]


Catholics form the majority (around 20,000 out of 25,000) of Christians in the country.[1] However, only about 500 of these Catholics regularly practice.[1] The Diocese of Tunis operates 12 churches, 9 schools, several libraries, and 2 clinics.[1] In addition to holding religious services, the Catholic Church has opened a monastery, freely organized cultural activities, and performed charitable work throughout the country.[1] Occasionally, Catholic religious groups hold services in private residences or other locations.[1]

Ecumenical outreach[edit]

Pope John Paul II visited Tunisia on April 15, 1996 to give support to the Church there and called for a peaceful dialogue between Muslims in Christians across North Africa. [2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e 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.
  2. ^ William D. Montalbano, Pope Seeks Tolerance in Visit to Tunisia. Los Angeles Times. April 13, 1966.
  3. ^ William D. Montalbano. Pope Urges Dialogue With Muslims. Los Angeles Times. April 15, 1996. There are an estimated 8.5 million Muslims in Tunisia.

External links[edit]