NZ born population drifting away from church

People born or raised in New Zealand, are drifting from church says the Catholic Bishop of Auckland Patrick Dunn.

He said this is happening across all ethnicities.

Dunn said that while it was affecting all parishes, many were not aware it was happening, because the churches were still full.

New New Zealanders are replacing are those drifting away.

Census data showed the Catholic religion was the largest Christian denomination in 2013.

Almost half a million (492,105) people identified as Catholic.

That figure was down by 16,332 (about 3.3 percent) from 2006.

Almost one third the total number were born overseas, predominantly in the Philippines, England and Samoa.

Dunn is calling this trend “kiwi drift”

He said religion was no longer seen as a fundamental part of New Zealand culture.

He thinks 1960s propelled the separation from religion.

There was a change in society driven by television, student revolt, the sexual revolution and drugs.

Dunn says the trend is affecting every ‘European’ first-world country.

“I don’t know what they’d call it in the USA, but there seems to be a developing disconnect in these cultures between Christianity and the mainstream culture.”

Over the past 30 years, the number of New Zealand-born people attending church had been declining says Peter Lineham

He is a professor of history at Massey University.

“There’s been dramatic declines in participation and involvement and adherence to all churches.”

“It was slower to take effect in the Catholic Church.”

Lineham agrees with Dunn that the trend is being masked by the new New Zealanders.

Migrants, he says tend to have a greater need for religion than those who have lived here for a long time.

He said there was no simple answer to the decline.

“The fact is that Kiwis in general dislike organisations, opt out of voluntary bodies, see relatively little use in organised religion.”

“It’s not that they’ve probably had any change in their level of believing in God, but they’ve certainly had a big change in their willingness to accept any organisational answer to those questions.”

Lineham said as later generations of new migrants settled in New Zealand and became more westernised, they also might start attending church less.



Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,