CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 June 2019

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Catholics up seminarians down


VATICAN (SE): While the worldwide Catholic population has risen minimally over the past few years, standing at 1.285 billion at the end of 2015, the number of major seminarians has been declining for four consecutive years. Statistics released by the Vatican on April 6 show the number of seminarians rose from 63,882 in 1978 to 110,553 in 2000, peaking at 120,616 in 2011—an increase of 89 per cent during the 33 years of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

However, it has subsequently declined to 120,051 in 2012, 118,251 in 2013, 116,939 in 2014 and 116,843 by 2015.

There have also been demographic changes with much slower increases coming in Asia and Africa, but in the western nations which once boasted largish numbers, they have dropped to a trickle.

The latest census in predominately Catholic Ireland shows both a drop in the percentage of Catholic population and a significant jump in the number choosing to tick the no particular religion box on the census form.

The Central Statistics Office says that 78 per cent of Irish people identify themselves as Catholic, down from 84 per cent five years ago.

Among its 4.8 million population, almost 470,000 described themselves as having no religious affiliation; a 74 per cent jump from the previous census.


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