06/22/2010, 00.00
KOREA
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Number of Catholics in Korea continues to grow

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
116 thousand more than 2008. Since 1999 there has been an annual increase of 2-3%. In 2008 the number exceeded 5 million. Ordination of priests also increases, around 4913: one for every 1,171 faithful.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - For the first time, the number of Catholics in Korea has exceeded 10% of the total population. There are 115,997 more Catholics than in 2008.

It is the Church to bear witness to the considerable increase of the faithful in Korea, today 10.1% of the population. The statistics were compiled based on pastoral documents collected from 16 dioceses, seven universities and a number of Catholic religious institutes in Korea.

Of the 15 dioceses, which have a total of 5 million and 120 thousand faithful, the largest is the Archdiocese of Seoul, where 27.4% of Catholics live. The number of baptized in 2009 rose to 157 thousand, 10.9% more than in 2008. If the number of children baptized grew by 7.5% in one year, the number of those baptized before reaching one year, which decreased significantly, is of concern, indicating that it is still necessary to encourage the baptism of newborn infants.

In 2009, 149 priests were ordained, 21 more than 2008 and 69% of 4913 priests present in Korea are between 20 and 40 years of age. According to statistics, by comparing the number of priests with that of the faithful, in Korea there is one priest for every 1,171 faithful.
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