Australia records sharp drop in Mass attendance

(The Pillar. LUKE COPPEN).

The proportion of Australia’s Catholics attending weekly Mass fell from 11.8% to 8.2% between 2016 and 2021, according to figures released this week. The Australian Catholic Mass Attendance Report 2021 said that the number of Massgoers dropped from 623,400 to 417,350 — a fall around a third — in the five-year period. Some of Australia’s 33 dioceses saw especially sharp declines. In the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, attendance dipped from 10,465 in 2016 to 5,443 in 2021, a 48% reduction. The diocese in New South Wales had the country’s lowest Mass attendance rate in 2021, well below the national average at 3.7%. The Maitland-Newcastle diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Sydney, which had an above-average Mass attendance rate of 10.4% in 2021. But the Sydney archdiocese — arguably the country’s most prominent — also saw a significant decline in Mass attendance, from 93,365 to 61,247 over the five years, a fall of 34%. The nationwide Mass attendance rate of 8.2% likely puts Australia at the lower end of the global spectrum, alongside countries such as Brazil and France. 

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