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Pell says Church growth requires firm grip on Gospel demands

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has said that Church growth is occuring where there is "explicit call to conversion..., generally good community and a call for a personal sacrifice."

Speaking to the Zenit news agency in Rome, he said denominations experienceing growth "have a clear biblical message".

"They have strong communities that make demands on their people; they are the groups that are growing," he said. "The groups that you mentioned come from a very, very small base, which is easier to grow".

He said figures have proved liberal Catholics wrong in their suggestion that Christianity "will flourish by adapting to the age".

Cardinal Pell was responding to a question on the National Church Life Survey, which showed weekly church attendance by Catholics has declined to as little as 16%.

"Regarding the view held by some very liberal Catholics -- that the way forward is to lessen the demands of the Gospel, to go quiet on the Commandments and the importance of prayer -- I think the statistics show that that is completely false."

Cardinal Pell on How the Church Is Faring in Australia (Zenit 31/3/04)

National Church Life Survey/NCLS Research

2 Apr 2004