The Catholic Church is the biggest religious denomination which is legally accepted in Austria. The Catholic Church in Austria comprises two Archdioceses (Vienna and Salzburg), seven dioceses (Eisenstadt, St. Pölten, Graz-Seckau, Gurk-Klagenfurt, Linz, Innsbruck, and Feldkirch), and one military diocese. Out of 8,3 million people in Austria, 7 million are part of one of the 13 acknowledged churches and religious communities. 80% of believers in Austrian belong to the Catholic Church.
3.082 parishes with more than 8.000 churches make up the network of pastoral care in the Catholic Church in Austria. 4.262 priest, of which 1.522 are members of a religious order, and 537 deacons who are engaged in pastoral work are supplemented by 957 pastoral assistants. There are 316 convents of which 31 carry the title "Stift." In 2006, 31 candidates for the priesthood were ordained priests and 36 were ordained deacons. 73 members of orders took their vows.
Church statistics give a number of 800.000 people attending mass on Sundays, more accurate estimates say that more than a 1 million people go to Sunday mass regularly. Additionally, 800.000 people celebrate Sunday service via TV and radio. In 2006, 52.370 children and adults were baptized, 61.877 children received the First Communion, and 65.355 teenagers received Confirmation. There were 12.790 church weddings.
The Church very much depends on the engagement of the faithful. 30.000 elected members of parish councils are the driving forces of the church life in the parishes. They voluntarily work 4,4 million hours in all areas of pastoral care. Studies show that for every member of a parish council there are ten other women and men who stand up for the Catholic Church. For example, 150.000 teenage Catholics are members of the Catholic youth, 200.000 women are members of the Catholic Women's Movement, 130.000 children take part in one of the 7.900 Catholic youth groups, which are led by 13.700 group leaders. The organisation "Arbeitsgemeinschaft katholischer Verbände" has hundreds of thousands of members, many other believers are organized in new spiritual movements and organisations.
765.00 pupils attend R.E. They are being taught by 8.000 R.E. teachers. About 70.000 pupils attend 334 private Catholic schools. In 696 Catholic kindergartens, about 40.000 children are taken care of day by day. The Catholic Church also plays a major role in adult education. 64 member organisations of the "Forum Katholische Erwachsenenbildung," among which are 17 Catholic Educational and Congress Centres, organize 30.000 educational events per year, which are attended by 950.000 people - of which 72% are women.
10.250 people work full-time and 28.000 do voluntary work for the Caritas in the different dioceses. 90% of the work of the Caritas benefit the people in Austria: 42.000 receive support from 32 Caritas Help Information Centers. 41 residential and care homes offer a home to more than 3.300 people. Additionally, Caritas workers spent 1.7 million hours on taking care of people in their homes. People working for the Caritas terminal care help people in their homes, nursing homes or hospitals. 43 hostels for asylum seekers and 32 Help Information Centres offer children, women and men accommodation, food and counselling. Internationally, Caritas puts 572 projects into practice in the three fields emergency aid, development cooperation and social welfare.
The Church in Austria
|People Organizing the First Communions:||16.300|
|People Organizing the Confirmations:||11.000|
|Secessions from the Church:||36.470|
|Ordinations to the Priesthood:||31|
|Ordinations of Deacons:||36|
|Religious Order Vows:||73|
|Priests:||4.262 (out of which 1.522 are religious |
|Churches and Chapels:||8.000|
|Religious Orders and Communities:||85|
|Convents (entitled "Stift"):||31|
|Elected Parish Council Members:||30.000|
Prof. Erich Leitenberger
Chief Editor of the Catholic News Agency „Kathpress"
Head of the Office of Public Relations and Communications of the Archdiocese of Vienna
In Cooperation with Andreas Gutenbrunner
Office of Public Relations and Communications of the Archdiocese of Vienna