A case in point: about one-quarter of the pupils at Catholic schools in the state of Queensland are non-Catholics.
In a note sent to the Fides agency, the Brisbane Archdiocese reported an annual growth of 22.5% in the number of non-Catholic pupils enrolled at Catholic schools.
Families like the quality of the instruction offered at the institutions as well as the education in moral values, the archdiocese said.
Joe MacCorley, head of the Commission for Catholic Education in Queensland, said that some poorer Catholic families cannot afford the private school education.
The Church, however, cannot lower the school fees because government contributions to Catholic schools are the same as they were 10 years ago, officials said.
In this country of 20 million, the Church runs 1,700 schools with more than 640,000 pupils.