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Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic World News

Number of seminarians declines for 4th straight year

April 07, 2017

The number of major seminarians worldwide has declined for the fourth consecutive year, according to statistics released by the Vatican on April 6.

The number of major seminarians worldwide rose from 63,882 in 1978 to 110,553 in 2000 and peaked at 120,616 in 2011—an increase of 89% in the 33 years after the beginning of St. John Paul II’s pontificate.

The number, however, subsequently declined to 120,051 (2012), 118,251 (2013), 116,939 (2014), and 116,843 (2015). The Holy See Press Office provided a geographical breakdown of the seminarians in 2015:

  • Asia: 34,741
  • North and South America: 33,512
  • Africa: 29,007
  • Europe: 18,579
  • Oceania: 1,004

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of major seminarians from Africa increased by 7.7%. In Europe, the number decreased by 9.7%.


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  • Posted by: [email protected] - Apr. 11, 2017 1:20 AM ET USA

    It is clear that bishops like the bishop of Malta are creating an issue of belief in God's church doctrines. We are going downhill and becoming like so many others that so many young men are now asking what is the purpose. The Pope best take a good look in the mirror and see what he is creating. But Christ will always be with His Church and protect it.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Apr. 10, 2017 1:35 PM ET USA

    Our Church is Eucharistic and Sacramental and in God's justice, Catholics will be entitled to the priests they need. Though I cannot imagine a Church without the Eucharist, we must acknowledge the reality of the Church in Japan for a great length of time without it. They were left them with the great power of Baptism alone. But, Cdl. Ratzinger wrote about all the European Pagans with Baptismal Certificates - most of them. It comes down, then, to believe or disappear,

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Apr. 08, 2017 12:24 PM ET USA

    Seminarians who want to be aloof from the very people they are supposed to serve may be realizing they would do better and wait until Pope Francis is gone...unless the Holy Spirit sends another disruptive Pontiff.

  • Posted by: Antonius86 - Apr. 08, 2017 10:00 AM ET USA

    Can I say "Francis Effect" or is that uncharitable?

  • Posted by: skall391825 - Apr. 08, 2017 3:06 AM ET USA

    By their fruits you shall know them.

  • Posted by: DCpa - Apr. 07, 2017 10:08 PM ET USA

    Another sign of the "Francis Effect,"

  • Posted by: padrebill - Apr. 07, 2017 9:56 PM ET USA

    The Francis effect?