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Australian archbishop unsurprised by decline in religious affiliation

July 18, 2017

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane has said that there is “nothing very surprising” about Australian census figures that show a sharp rise in the number of young people with no religious affiliation.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that people, young or old, are less religious than they were; but it does mean that they’re religious in very different ways than in the past,” the archbishop told the Catholic Leader. He went on to say that the Catholic Church must adjust to new popular attitudes, “lest the communication gap between believers and non-believers grow even wider.”

The census figures showed that 30% of Australian identify themselves as having “no religion”—a figure that has doubled since the census of 2011. Australians with “no religion” now comprise the country’s largest bloc, easily outstripping Catholics, who account for 23%.

The Catholic proportion of the population, at 23%, is significantly down since the 2011 survey, when the figure stood at over 25%. That figure measures the Australians who identify themselves as Catholics; only a small minority attend Mass regularly.


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  • Posted by: unum - Jul. 19, 2017 9:47 AM ET USA

    I can't remember Jesus telling the apostles that they had to "go along to get along" with the unbelievers. As I recall, Christ advocated active evangelism, but many of our modern apostles (clergy) have chosen an "easier path".

  • Posted by: Elan - Jul. 18, 2017 7:00 PM ET USA

    Isn't adjusting to "new popular attitudes" what we have been doing since the sixties? This is exactly how we got here. What is really not surprising is the Archbishop's apparent lack of faith. That is the real reason people do not go to Mass. The faith they see from the principal witnesses is unconvincing.