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Pell says Sydney more religious than Melbourne

Sydney people are more religious but Melburnians are more sports mad, according to Sydney's Archbishop George Pell.

The former Archbishop of Melbourne is set to mark his first anniversary as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney.

``Sydney and Melbourne are not as different from one another as some people in Sydney and Melbourne would have others believe,'' Archbishop Pell told The Sunday Telegraph.

``Sydney is a more religious city than Melbourne -- a higher percentage of Christians and a lower percentage of people without religion, and the Anglican Church is much stronger up here,'' he said.

``Sydney people are more upfront too. Many more people greet me in the streets here than in Melbourne.'' But if there is one thing Melburnians are religious about, it's their sport.

``There is nothing like the great tribal football club loyalties of Melbourne here in Sydney,'' he said. ``Crowds at sporting events are regularly smaller.''

Archbishop Pell said the exception was rugby union, which attracted more attention in Sydney.

A committed Richmond fan, who won a contract to play for the team but chose the priesthood instead, he said missing Aussie rules games was one of the greatest sacrifices in his move to Sydney -- along with missing family and friends.

Sunday Telegraph

6 May 2002