Ever growing, ever faithful

A connection between Gospel values and the core tenets of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life – family, spirituality and culture – is attracting more of Australia’s First Peoples to the Catholic faith.


Australia’s First Peoples now constitute more than 130,000 of all Catholics in Australia and the numbers are increasing, according to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), a peak advisory body to Australia’s bishops.


NATSICC national administrator Craig Arthur said Census data showed that the growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics in the Church was approximately 7 per cent in the five years to 2016.


“The group has had several growth spurts over the past 30 years. Interestingly, the overall percentage change from 1986 to 2016 has shown a 187.8 per cent increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics,” he said.


NATSICC chairman John Lochowiak believes the increase can be attributed to a variety of factors.


“We are seeing a continual cultural change in the Catholic Church in Australia,” he said.


“Our bishops are supportive not only of NATSICC, but also in the development and growth of the Aboriginal and Islander ministries working on a local level.”


Aboriginal and Islander Catholic ministries are in place in most states and territories and work on a local level to inculturate the Church liturgically and pastorally while ensuring the basic welfare needs of Australia’s First Peoples are met.


Mr Lochowiak also praised the work of Catholic schools throughout Australia.


“Our young people are a major focus of the Council and to see that group grow in numbers and in pride in their faith is terrific,” he said.


A full set of statistics can be downloaded here.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics have grown in number by 7% since 2011. Now numbering over 130,000, Australia's First peoples are the youngest and fastest growing demographic in the Australian Catholic Church today.

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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069

www.natsicc.org.au   |   craig@natsicc.org.au   | 08 8363 2963