New data from the recent census shows that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics continues to grow. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Pastoral Research Office have produced this document with further details . download here – 201_indigenous_stats_2012
Statement from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC)
The National Catholic Census project undertaken by the Bishops Conference Pastoral Research Office has found that not only has the population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics increased by 102%, but the median age is also 16 years younger.
That makes Indigenous Catholics one of the fastest growing segments of the Catholic Church in Australia. NATSICC feels that the great work being done by Aboriginal and Islander Catholic Ministries on the ground is one reason for the growth in numbers. The support provided by the Catholic Bishops to NATSICC and local ministries must also be noted.
“Increasing our contact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics on the ground was one of the key strategic goals of the Council in the past three years” noted NATSICC Chairperson Thelma Parker. “We now have to work closely with local ministries and the Bishops to ensure that we effectively serve and represent the growing number of our people of Catholic faith”.
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman of the Bishops Committee for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders welcomed the news as outlined in the census data recording the growing number of Indigenous Catholics within Australia. He said ” I am hopeful that the challenges presented to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in modern day life will be well met by the work of the various Aboriginal and Islander Catholic Ministries. It is crucial that these ministries continue to be supported by the mainstream church so that Indigenous people may be able to assume their rightful place in the church as envisaged by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II in his famous speech in Alice Springs in 1986.”