As of 2008, over 90 percent of the Portuguese people professed to be Catholic, but a growing number of Portuguese, along with larger numbers of resident migrants from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and from North Africa, adhered to other religious creeds. While only a relatively small number were Muslims, and mainly from North Africa or from north Mozambique or Guinea- Bissau, the number of Muslims was increasing. In the 1980s, a prominent mosque was erected in Lisbon, not far, ironically, from the embassy of Spain. The number of Jews remained small, under 1,000, although public interest in the history of the Jews and Crypto-Jews in post-1496 Portugal has increased recently through the appearance of new books, articles, plays, and films on the subject.
   In Portuguese history, religious homogeneity was long the rule, as church and state remained united. Following the First Republic (1910-26), when church and state were first separated, and the 1976 Constitution, when this separation was reinforced, greater religious heterogeneity was possible, despite the traditionally close identity between being Portuguese and being Catholic. For centuries, non-Catholic religious groups were persecuted or could not practice their religions freely.
   Changes in the religious picture followed the Revolution of 25 April 1974. The new migrants from the former colonial empire, as well as from North Africa, brought in non-Catholic religious beliefs. The 1976 Constitution guarantees all religious faiths the right to practice, those who are both Protestant and conscientious objectors can apply for alternative military service, Protestant missionaries have more freedom to serve abroad, and Protestant groups can build churches that look like churches, a right denied Protestants before 1974. Protestant sects comprise the most rapidly growing religious groups in Portugal, although the proportion of Portuguese Protestants in the population is smaller than that of Brazilian Protestants. Among such groups are Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Evangelicals.
   See also Pombal, the Marquis of.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.


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