Immigrants to replace Australia's Anglo-Celtic Catholic core

In a major address to last week's migrant chaplains’ conference in, RMIT Intercultural Studies Professor Des Cahill suggested that the future of Australian Catholicism may lie more with Catholic immigrants and their descendents than its Anglo-Celtic core.

The conference, sponsored by the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, highlighted the results of the census data for Australia’s 1357 Catholic parishes illustrated many of the Anglo-Celtic core had become alienated from the institutional church and its leadership.

“This (analysis) is also probably true of the other mainstream churches,” Prof Cahill said.

Prof Cahill said in Melbourne, Australasia’s largest diocese, the most Catholic areas are in the “heavily immigrant areas” and the least Catholic areas are the inner West Melbourne areas centred around St. Mary’s Church and the new Docklands area, as well as East and North Melbourne.

Prof Cahill added the same trends were also apparent in Sydney.

“Australia itself and the Catholic Church are becoming more diversified,” he said.

“The decline in the UK-born was being offset by the rise in those from NZ, USA and especially South Africa. There was also significant growth in those countries colonized by the UK or USA, particularly the Philippines, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.”

Italy, he said had been replaced by China as the largest non-English-speaking source country with Chinese now the nation’s second language after English.

“The Italian pastorate is now in its twilight. Australia is now beginning to track towards its Eurasian future, and the Catholic Church will be at the forefront of that historic change led by its large number of Vietnamese priests.”

Immigrants and the future of Australian Catholicism (RMIT Media and Communications)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
RMIT - Professor Des Cahill

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6 Nov 2007

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