Religion in Macau

Freedom of belief and religion in Macau is protected by a constitutional document called the Macau Basic Law. There is no state religion in Macau.

The Macau government allows freedom of religion and the residents of Macau have the right to practice a religion of their choice. Based on Article 3:34 of the Macau Basic Law: "The people in Macau are free to participate in religious activities and to preach as they wish." In Article 3:120: "The Macau Special Administrative Region embraces the principle of freedom of religion and belief; the government will not interfere in the internal workings of a religious body or organization and the believers are free to maintain ties and to develop relationships with overseas religious organizations outside Macau." Religious organizations can found religious colleges or other schools, hospitals and welfare organizations in accordance with the law. Schools operated by religious institutions can teach their religion. Religious organizations have the right to use, handle, inherit and obtain financial contributions in accordance with the law. Their right to wealth is protected by the law.

When compared with Hong Kong, Macau's religious makeup is far less diverse. Most of its believers are Buddhist, comprising more than three-quarters of the population in 2006. Former Portuguese administration of the territory has established Roman Catholicism as one of the main religions in Macau, although Protestant Christianity is also represented. The Bahá'í Faith in 1988 established a teaching institution for 250 students, comprising a kindergarten, primary school, and secondary school and there are about 400 Muslims in Macau, worshipping at one mosque.

Centuries of Portuguese influence has given the Catholic Church a prominent place in Macau's various charity organizations and social welfare work. However, recent reports suggest that Roman Catholicism is in decline in Macau; aided, perhaps, by the territory's booming gambling industry.

The various religious communities maintain peaceful relationships with one another. The Macanese people are generally tolerant of other religious views and practices and public ceremonies and dedications often include prayers led by both Christian and Buddhist groups.

Read more about Religion In Macau:  Protection By The Basic Law, Traditional Beliefs

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