April 21, 2007

Good vocation numbers

On the following page (link) from the "Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate" you will see that since 1970 the amount of the world's population that is Catholic has stayed at 17 or 18 percent:
Catholic Numbers

During the same period, the worldwide number of priests has stayed on average at about 405,773.

This means, among other things, that the number of priests who leave or die annually since 1970 has been about the same as the number of men who receive ordination annually.)

Those two sets of statistics mean the total number of ordained priests, though somewhat stable, is a shrinking number because the number of Catholics has continued to grow with the world population.

However, the big news on that page of statistics is the number of "Graduate-level Seminarians" (men studying theology as candidates for priestly ordination).

In 1980: 33,731
In 1985: 43,476
In 1990: 51,603
In 1995: 54,154
In 2000: 55,968

The number of candidates in the year 2000 amounts to 1.659 times the number in the year 1980.

The same page of statistics indicates that the number of Catholics in the year 2000 amounts to 1.333 times the number in the year 1980.

Evidently, then, worldwide from 1980 to 2000 the number of priesthood candidates grew faster than the total number of Catholics — about 1.25 times as fast.

However, priests continue to age and die. Furthermore, since vocations had declined prior to 1970, the number of living priests will continue to shrink for a while until the number of new ordinations catches up.

The good news remains that since 1980 the growth of the vocation rate worldwide has been faster than the growth of the worldwide Catholic population.


Blogger onionboy said...

This would encourage me accept for the present reality where lack of clergy in part accounts for parish closure and amalgamation.


4:56 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

A bit tangential but still affirming, my wife and I have noticed three new postulants at St. Martin's Abbey in the last six months.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Father,

I think that the number of women going into contemplative religious life is also on the rise. There was an article in the Troy Record, from Troy, NY that made a brief comment on it.

Eve Marie

8:29 PM  

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