DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     July 3-5, 1998     vol. 9, no. 129

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, today announced the publication of an annual statistical survey, covering the year 1996.

          Looking at a trend which began in 1978, the survey finds an increase in the number of priestly ordinations and religious vocations in Africa, Latin America, eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, but a decrease in North American and in Western Europe.

          The geographical distribution of the world's Catholic population has also shifted. In 1978, 35.5 percent of the world's Catholics lived in Europe, and 7.8 percent in North America; today those figures have dropped to 28.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. But Africa, which had 7.3 percent of the world's Catholics in 1978, now boasts 11. 0 percent. Similarly, Latin America has boosted its share of the Catholic population from 10.8 to 12.0 percent, and Southeast Asia from 7.5 to 10.1 percent.

          In Europe, the decline in priestly and religious vocations has been most pronounced in France and Belgium, followed by Italy, Spain, Germany, and Ireland - while Poland, Ukraine, and Romania have seen increases.

          The same general trends are visible in the distribution of seminarians. The African countries-- especially Nigeria, Tanzania, and Congo-- are seeing a rise in seminary attendance. Latin America now accounts for 17 percent of the world's seminarians. But seminary figures are declining in North America (again, particularly in the United States and Europe.

          A minor surprise comes with the statistics involving permanent deacons. North America-- and more particularly the United States-- once dominated the ranks of the permanent deaconate. Now their proportion is declining, as Europe and Central America gain a larger share.

          The Vatican survey does not include figures for lay movements.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 3-5, 1998       volume 9, no. 129


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