Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 9, 2009
Number of priests showing steady, moderate increase, Vatican says
BY CAROL GLATZ
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY - The latest Church statistics show that the number of priests and seminarians around the world has been showing a modest, yet steady increase.
The statistics from the end of 2007 also showed that the number of Catholics remains stable at 1.147 billion people across the globe.
The sampling of statistics was released Feb. 28 in connection with the presentation of the 2009 edition of the Vatican yearbook, known as the Annuario Pontificio, which catalogues the Church’s presence in each diocese.
CATHOLIC NUMBERS INCREASED
The Vatican said the global Catholic population increased during 2007 by 1.4 per cent, which more or less kept pace with the 1.1 per cent global birthrate that year.
For the past two years, Catholics have made up 17.3 per cent of the world’s population, it said.
The number of priests in the world also rose, but just by 0.18 per cent. At the end of 2007 there were 408,024 priests in the world, 762 more than at the beginning of the year.
The figure on the number of priests was showing a continued “trend of moderate growth which began in 2000 after more than 20 years of disappointing results,” the Vatican report said.
However, that growth has been confined to Africa and Asia, which showed substantial increases in ordinations with 27.6 per cent growth and 21.1 per cent growth since 2000, respectively, it said.
The number of priests has remained more or less the same in the Americas, while the numbers declined in Europe and Oceania.
At the end of 2007, there were 115,919 seminarians and 35,942 permanent deacons.