Seoul ( AsiaNews) - The Korean Catholic Church continues to grow. In
2013, the number of faithful and priests increased, even if there are fewer
religious marriages and a drop in attendance at Sunday mass. This
is shown by the 2013 Catholic Church statistics, published today by the
National Bishops Conference.
According to the Statistics as of December 31, 2013, the number of Catholics in Korea was 5,442,996, an increase of 1.5% (81,627) over the last year. This accounts for 10.4% of the total population. The total number of Catholics in Korea has slightly and consistently increased since 2003. By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,250,015 and the number of the female faithful was 3,192,981, 41.3% and 58.7% respectively of the total Catholics in Korea.
Of the 15 dioceses and the Military Ordinariate in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most population with 27.1% of the total Catholics in Korea, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (15.2%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (8.7%). The combined number of the faithful in the metropolitan area (Seoul, Incheon, Uijeongbu and Suwon) accounted for 56.1% of all the Catholics in Korea.
According to the Statistics, the number of newly baptized in 2013 was 118,830, a decrease of 10% from the previous year. By gender, newly baptized men represented 63,285 and women 55,545. The number of infants baptized amounted to 25,589.
The Statistics also indicates that number of clergy in Korea in 2013 amounted to 4,901 with 36 bishops, including two Cardinals. There were 4,695 Korean priests and 170 foreign priests. Among the priests, 3,995 were diocesan priests, 697 were religious priests and 173 were missionary priests. 117 priests were newly ordained in 2013, an increase of 2.6% from the previous year.
With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,564 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and perpetual vows as well as foreign religious, while there were 10,173 women religious.
The number of marriages celebrated in the Church amounted to 19,424 in 2013, a decrease of 6.2% from the previous year. Of this number 11,926 cases were marriages between a baptized and a non-baptized person. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession was 4,665,194, a decrease of 4.7% from the previous year. The average rate for Sunday Mass attendance was 21.2% of the total Catholic population in Korea, a decrease of 1.5% from the previous year.