Vatican City, Jul 8, 2008 / 10:10 am (CNA) .- Coinciding with Pope Benedictâ€™s upcoming visit to Sydney, the Central Statistical Office of the Church has released statistics on the presence of the Catholic Church in Australia.
The information released shows that 27.56 % (5,704,000) of Australians are Catholic, making Catholicism the largest religion in the country.
The Census also shows that while the Catholic population grew by 125,260 between the 2001 and 2006, it declined slightly as a proportion of the countryâ€™s total population.
Serving Catholics are 1,390 parishes, 63 bishops, 3,125 priests, 7,950 religious, 40 lay members of secular institutes and 8,192 catechists. Minor seminarians number 83, and major seminarians 244.
Catholic education also has a presence in the country. A total of 736,288 children and young people participate in 2,252 Catholic schools, from kindergartens to universities.
Other Catholic institutions are also active in Australia including: 58 hospitals, 5 clinics, 407 homes for the elderly or disabled, 164 orphanages and nurseries, 210 family counseling centers and other pro-life centers, 480 centers for education and social rehabilitation, and 24 institutions of other kinds.