About Us

The true wealth of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church in Australia is the largest non-government provider of health, community and aged care services, education and welfare in the country.  It is also one of Australia’s largest non-government employers. 

In Australia, there are:

  • 2,967 priests;
  • 166 deacons;
  • 4,166 religious sisters; and
  • 689 religious brothers,

serving in 1,385 parishes and other of our works and ministries.  The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s:

  • 490 priests;
  • 7 deacons;
  • 851 religious sisters;
  • and 175 religious brothers,

make up a significant proportion of this overall number.

In terms of health care, in Sydney alone, the Catholic Church operates:

  • 6 hospitals;
  • 115 nursing homes; and
  • 23 facilities dedicated to children’s welfare.

Across Australia, the number of health care facilities grows:

  • 68 hospitals;
  • 414 nursing homes; and
  • 217 facilities dedicated to children’s welfare.

Catholic health care is not just about the quantity of facilities, but the quality of the care and breadth of services they offer.  One of the most well-known Catholic health providers is St Vincent’s Health Australia.  While its facilities care for all-comers, it has a special focus on the vulnerable.  The five priorities for St Vincent’s Health Australia are:

  • People with mental illness
  • Drug and alcohol dependence
  • Health needs of those that are homeless
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Health needs of prisoners.

In the last financial year, just one of the St Vincent’s Health facilities, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney:

  • admitted 42,086 patients;
  • served 363,726 outpatients;
  • conducted 8,186 operations; and
  • treated 47,181 patients in its emergency apartment.

Another facet of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney is Tierney House in Darlinghurst.  A 12-bed residential unit, Tierney House assists the inner city homeless population to access health care.  It takes a holistic approach to health care, providing assistance on issues that are not strictly health related, but are connected to the wellbeing of the individual, such as housing, legal, financial and social matters.

This holistic provision of health care not only benefits the individual, but society as a whole.  A team of academics from the University of Western Sydney, the University of NSW and University of Western Australia independently evaluated Tierney House’s effectiveness and found that in addition to its health advantages, it delivered a net cost-benefit to NSW taxpayers of $8,276 per person over two years by reducing emergency department and other hospital presentations and admissions.

Outside of health, the Catholic Church also makes a significant contribution to education, with almost one in five Australian children educated in a Catholic school.  We educate 765,844 students in 1,736 primary, secondary, combined and special schools nationwide.  While these schools receive significant government funding, they receive a smaller proportion of funding than is provided to government schools, alleviating the taxpayer of the full burden of education funding, taking pressure off the state system and importantly, providing choice for parents in terms of the education of their children.

The good works of the Church, spread across many facets of education, health, welfare and social services, and spread throughout cities, regional and rural Australia, and the Catholic Church’s status as the largest non-government employer and provider of these services, mean that it only makes sense that the Catholic Church is also one of the country’s largest property owners.

The question is less about the quantity of assets but how we use them and particularly, whether we use them in the service of others.

For more information about the services available in the Archdiocese of Sydney, click here.