Catholic Church continues to grow in New Zealand and world-wide

A Massey University study, Changing Patterns of Auckland Religion, has found that, with the exception of Catholicism, membership of all mainstream Christian denominations has fallen to historic lows. At the same time religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam are growing.

Professor Peter Lineham, who led the study, said the survey showed the mainstream Christian churches were “failing to connect” in areas of Auckland with a high concentration of ethnic minorities.

He said the Catholic Church continues to grow in New Zealand because it reflects more closely the changing nature of New Zealand’s ethnic mix.

“The Catholic Church have got exactly the same problem of ageing Pakeha (as the Anglican Church), and they’ve lost a lot of ground among Pakeha, as Pakeha become more and more non-religious, but they’ve gained enormously from the new populations flooding into Auckland – Fillipinos, Koreans, Indians, Samoans and other Pacific peoples.

“That means that the Auckland Catholic Church is quite representative of Auckland. It’s very striking,” he said.

“Any religion that did not engage wider than the rich, white middle-class will certainly not be growing in a city with Auckland’s demographics of today,” Dr Lineham said.

Speaking on RNZ’s The Panel, Auckland Catholic Diocese’s spokesperson Lyndsay Freer said that because of its universal nature the Catholic Church transcends nationality. She said people from all around the world get a sense of being at home in the Catholic Church no matter what their nationality or ethnicity is.

Freer also said that the growth of the Catholic Church is a world-wide phenomenon. Catholics now account for 17.5% of the world’s population.



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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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