Doyle issues "call to action" over worship decline

Explaining a new archdiocesan policy to boost the percentage of baptised students at Tasmanian Catholic schools, Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle cites studies showing a low rate of religious literacy among teenagers.

The Mercury reports that Archbishop Doyle has issued a "call to action" in response to data that shows only 10 per cent of Tasmanian Catholics attend mass each week.

This concern is behind the Archbishop's new policy to boost the number of baptised students in Tasmanian Catholic Schools to 75 per cent, The Mercury says.

About 60 per cent of the 14,965 students in Tasmania's 37 Catholic schools are Catholic.

In a speech in late April, Archbishop Doyle set out his plan to promote the Catholic faith, which targets Catholic students in state schools.

"There are very many Catholic students attending Government schools, for a variety of reasons ..." he said.

"We must all work harder to encourage them into Catholic Education."

Archbishop Doyle this week confirmed the church was seeking an exemption under the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act to turn away non-Catholic students, starting with the new high school at Huntingfield.

This has upset gay activists, who said the exemption could be used to turn away students who are gay, who question the Catholic doctrine and who have parents in a de facto relationship.

In his speech, the Archbishop said other states already had the exemption.

"Our Catholic education system will always give preference to those who are Catholics and, I must say, even more so to those once called 'practising Catholics'," he said.

Archbishop Doyle said he had heard of parents having their children baptised to secure a spot in a Catholic school.

He referred to research in Ireland that showed teenagers and young people had poor religious literacy and a third could not say why Easter was celebrated. And he said the religious literacy in Tasmania could be even worse, and the findings were of "great concern".

He also referred to research in the UK that showed one-third of the adult population had no contact with any church, apart from baptisms, weddings and funerals.

"The situation here is arguably much worse," the Archbishop said.

Leader targets missing flock (Mercury, 1/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Hobart
Federal and state anti-discrimination law

Hobart plans to boost Catholic student numbers (CathNews, 31/5/07)
Tas church presses for school anti-discrimination exemption (CathNews, 30/4/07)

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