Australia's Catholic bishops have repeated calls for the church's schools to increase the number of Catholic students enrolled.
In a letter titled "200 years young", to mark two centuries of Catholic education in Australia, the Catholic Bishops of Australia say the school system must "re-examine" how to maximise enrolment of Catholic students and staff.
The letter was sent to the leaders, staff, students and families of Catholic education in Australia.
The letter points out that one in five Australian students attend a Catholic school. There are 770,000 primary and secondary students enrolled in Catholic schools, and 50,000 tertiary students at Catholic universities.
While the Bishops welcome those from other religious backgrounds, in their letter they call for the retention of "a 'critical mass' of Catholic students and staff in our schools".
It follows similar calls in 2007 by the Bishops of NSW and the ACT in their pastoral letter "Catholic schools at a crossroads".
The report highlighted the need for schools to be "truly Catholic in their identity and life".
"We are fortunate to have Catholic schools in most towns and suburbs, and university campuses in most capital cities, serving students from diverse backgrounds and beliefs," Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said in a statement.
According to the National Catholic Education Commission about 63 per cent of all primary and secondary enrolments identify as Catholic - a drop from 70 per cent nationwide in 2014.
The data collected from an internal survey of Australian Catholic schools shows fifteen per cent identify as other Christians, four per cent as non-Christian and eleven per cent as having no religion.
On the other hand, about 40 per cent of children from Catholic families do not attend Catholic schools.
""It takes us back to our original mission, which is to provide the choice of a Catholic education for every Catholic child in Australia," Jacinta Collins, the executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission, told reporters on Thursday.
"We're taking stock of how well we're doing that."
Thursday's six-page letter also dedicated a paragraph to the "great shame" caused by child sexual abuse in the Catholic church and its schools, highlighted by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Archbishop Fisher acknowledged the "irrevocable harm caused by child sexual abuse in Catholic schools and other institutions over the years".
"This damaged many children and families, as well as the credibility of Church institutions, including schools, in the eyes of many," the Archbishop said.
Still, the Archbishop lauded the success of the church's education system and its contribution to Australia.
"Almost from womb to tomb we've been educating people for almost 200 years, and that's a huge contribution to this country," he told reporters on Thursday.
"We're a big part of the social capital of Australia."
The first Catholic school in Australia was opened in Parramatta in Sydney's west in 1821. Today there are more than 1750 schools, with nearly 100,000 staff.