$10 or less: what half of all Catholics give at Mass

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Almost half of Mass-going Catholics give $10 or less to weekly parish collections, with the largest single group of givers – around 33 per cent – giving between five and 10 dollars.

The analysis was recently issued by the Pastoral Research Office, an organ of the bishops-secretariat body, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and was based on a random sample of 2610 Mass attenders across Australia in the 2011 National Church Life Survey.

Some 28 per cent gave between $10-20, 15 per cent gave $20-40, and four per cent reported giving $40 or more (three per cent said they did not give any money).

The analysis also found that of people who gave $20 or more, around 29 per cent were people who had a parish ministry role, followed by people born outside Australia in another English-speaking country (26 per cent).

Older people were much more likely to give more than younger people, the PRO’s July-August report said, with people aged 60 and over making up 21 per cent of those who gave $20+ compared with people aged 15-34 who made up 11 per cent.

“[One] factor that makes no difference is the type of secondary school attended by respondents: there is little or no difference in giving patterns between Mass attenders who attended Catholic, Government or other types of secondary school,” the report said.

“Intriguingly, however, the type of primary school that Mass attenders went to does make a big difference. This is surprising, given that the average age of the 2610 respondents is 56 years, so primary school was a long time ago for most of them.

“Yet those who went to a Catholic primary school are considerably more likely to say they give more to their parish (22 per cent) than attenders who went to government (17 per cent) or other (15 per cent) primary schools.

“Perhaps this reflects a strong culture of fundraising practised and learnt in Catholic primary schools.”