Catholic Church Records Marginal Decline In Clergy Population
BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The World Catholic Church clergy suffered a slight decline in 2023 even as it recorded a marginal increase in membership population from 1.358 billion to 1.375 billion, resulting 16.2 million rise between 2022 and 2023.
It is also instructive that the Catholic Church maintained its leading charity position both in education and healthcare and social services, world-wide.
The statistics showed that while the Catholic Church has 74,000 kindergartens, 10,567 nursery schools, 101,000 primary schools, and 50,000 secondary schools serving the needs of over 65 million children in the world, the Church operates 5,405 hospitals, 14,205 dispensaries, 567 leper hospitals, 15,276 homes for the elderly, 9,703 orphanages, 10,604 marriage counseling centers, 3,287 social rehabilitation centers, and 35,529 allied institutions.
It is estimated that the Catholic Church is the most prudent and most godly in service to mankind, catering especially for children and the elderly almost for free; unlike the Pentecostal Church that prioritizes profiteering and leadership ostentatious lifestyle, in comparison.
According to the 13 rung global statistical data 2023 released by the Vatican, while the total number of Bishops in the world decreased by 23 units to 5,340, the number of priests dropped by 2,347; with Europe leading in the fall, followed by Africa and Asia.
The13 highlights are as follows:
- The Catholic population worldwide increased from 1.358 billion to 1.375 billion, an increase of 16.2 million from 2022.
- The continent of Africa experienced the biggest increase with 8.3 million embracing the Catholic faith between 2022 and 2023.
- The total number of Bishops in the world decreased by 23 units to 5,340.
- Worldwide the number of priests dropped by 2,347. Europe experienced the largest decline, while Africa and Asia experienced increase.
- Africa had an increase of 1,518 priests.
- Three countries with significant Mass attendance are Nigeria, Kenya, and Lebanon.
- Nigeria tops the list. Percentage of Nigerian Catholics that attend Mass weekly is 94%.
- The global count of permanent deacons increased slightly, but men and women religious experienced concerning decline, especially in Europe and Latin America.
- Africa had an increase of 205 men religious and 2,275 female religious.
- Africa shines in vocations to the priesthood. It is the only continent registering an increase in the number of both major and minor seminarians.
- Africa experienced an increase of 205 major seminarians and 2,053 minor seminarians.
- In Education, the Catholic Church has 74,000 kindergartens, 10,567 nursery schools, 101,000 primary schools, and 50,000 secondary schools serving the needs of over 65 million children in the world.
- In Healthcare, the Catholic Church operates 5,405 hospitals, 14,205 dispensaries, 567 leper hospitals, 15,276 homes for the elderly, 9,703 orphanages, 10,604 marriage counseling centers, 3,287 social rehabilitation centers, and 35,529 other kinds of institutes.
It is to be noted that Christianity in Europe and America has in the past two decades suffered severe core religious values crisis and the attendant slack and erosion in spiritual matters following the open endowments of same sex marriages.
It is believed that the controversy arising from gay marraige and the indecisive posture of the Catholic Church has caused it much more headache and moral backlash than any other issues in recent times. It is speculated that churches generally in the western world of recent has been faced with membership decline with most of the churches being converted into commercial and social concerns; raising worries about christian religion reversals and decline in the former region that pioneered christianity and its evangelism, worldwide.
It is also believed that the silence of the Church regarding the unscrupulous socio-economic evil exploitation of its colonies especially in Africa and parts of Asia that has come to the front burner are part of the controversies challenging the morality and stability of the orthodox religions and the decline currently being experienced.