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Catholic World News

World’s Catholic population continues to rise amid decline in priests, sisters, seminarians

February 15, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: Between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, the number of Catholics worldwide rose by 16 million to 1.36 billion. In doing so, the Catholic population held steady at 17.7% of the world’s population, according to newly released Vatican statistics.

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of priests fell from 414,336 to 410,419 (the number had risen the previous year), while the number of women religious, continuing a trend of precipitous decline, fell from 630,099 to 619,546.

The number of seminarians worldwide also declined, from 114,058 to 111,855. (The number of major seminarians worldwide rose from 63,882 in 1978 to 110,553 in 2000, and peaked at 120,616 in 2011.)

The above note supplements, highlights, or corrects details in the original source (link above). About CWN news coverage.


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