In the latest edition (Vol 19) of Pointers (the journal of the Chrisian Research Association), there is a table based on the 2006 Australian Census data which gives the “Rates of marriage and de facto relationships occuring within religious groups”. Very interesting.
Rates of marriage are highest (over 90 percent) among Muslims, Brethren, Coptic Orthodox, Assyrian Apostolic, Druse, Hindus, and Sikhs. Next (between 80 and 90 percent) are Pentecostals, Christadelphians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bahai, Mormons, Jews, Reformed and Eastern Orthodox. Three groups come in at the 70’s: Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhists, and Churches of Christ. Then, at 69.1% are the Baptists AND those of “no religion”. Finally Catholics come in at 63.4%. Religious groups with a marriage rate of under 60% include: Anglican (59.8%), Uniting (56.1%), Lutheran (54.6%), Salvation Army (53.7%), and Presbyterians (40.5%). Finally, Spiritualism and Nature Religions come in at 40% and under.
It would seem from this, that among mainline Christians, Catholics still come in tops – but not by a lot. What does this say about how well we are forming people for the vocation of marriage in Australia today?
But wait! There’s more.
The table also includes the proportion of all relationships which are de facto within each religious group. The lowest? No, it’s not Islam (3.4%); it’s Assyrian Apostolic (0.8%). The highest (excluding No Religion at 27.1%, Spiritualism at 27.3% and Nature Religions at 42.8%) is Anglican at 13.5% and Lutheran at 13.0%. That’s half that of those with no religion, but still pretty high.
Want to guess where the Catholics come in? 12.9% – the sixth highest on the list and higher than Buddhism (at 11.2%).
Again, what are we doing to prepare Catholics properly for the vocation of marriage and family?