Action Alert!
Catholic World News

US: number of religious sisters declines by over 2,000 in one year

November 29, 2012

The number of religious sisters in the United States fell from 57,113 to 55,045 in a one-year period, according to data in the 2011 and 2012 editions of The Official Catholic Directory.

During the same period:

  • the number of priests fell slightly from 40,271 to 40,203
  • the number of seminarians fell from 5,247 to 5,015, with most of the decline occurring among religious-order (and not diocesan) seminarians
  • the number of religious brothers fell from 4,650 to 4,518
  • the number of permanent deacons rose from 17,436 to 17,816


Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: koinonia - Dec. 02, 2012 6:46 PM ET USA

    The bright spot in these numbers is disconcerting. There might be a message in all this, and it is unsettling how it coincides with the Liturgy of the Word for this Sunday and last. In the course of human history declines in population have not been good things. This necessarily carries over to the priesthood as the role of the priest is absolutely essential to life in the Church. There are those who disagree, and there is an organized effort to effect changes they view as inevitable.