Religion was kept under tight royal control
under the system of "gallicanisme", i. e. all church officials nominated by the King, not the Pope.
Religious orders answering directly to the Pope were discouraged
from operating in the colony (particularly the Jesuits, who
mainly worked in missions established among the Native peoples).
The Church was perceived as a servant of the state, charged with
running schools, hospitals, charitable institutions. Bishop
Laval, the first bishop of New France, created a parish system
to serve the needs of the community. A seminary was created in 1663
and the tithe was introduced to support the church. Hospitals, bureaux des pauvres and schools
were opened and registres des
paroisses were established.
Jews and Protestants were ruthlessly
persecuted (revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 1685).
Protestants were barred from immigration to New France. Hence in New
France virtually everyone belonged to the Roman Catholic Church,
which explains the development of a very religious culture, with
many shrines and an intense worship of the Virgin Marie. Religious holidays and processions
were key moments of the colony's life.
education was supervised by the Church and all reading material
checked for heresy and morality. The Church created excellent educational
facilities with the Jesuit college for boys and the Ursulines school