06/13/2011, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA
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The number of Catholics continues to rise despite a lower birth rate

The Church releases membership data for 2010, showing 140,644 new baptisms. This represents a slight drop over previous years due to a lower birth rate. Although numbers “dropped a bit, this just encourages us to do more evangelisation,” Bishops’ Conference president says.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The number of Catholics in South Korea continues to grow. In 2010, 140,644 more people were baptised, a slight drop over the previous year. As of 31 December 2010, the country had 5,202,589 Catholics, or 10.1 per cent of the total population. The number of baptisms “dropped a bit, [but] this just encourages us to do more evangelisation,” the Bishops’ Conference (CBCK) said.

The Korean Church published data concerning its membership a few days ago. CBCK President Peter Kang U-il said he was satisfied. However, he urged “everyone, not only bishops and priests, to do more to assert the truth of the Catholic message.”

Over the past ten years, 980,000 people were baptised, 23 per cent more than in the previous decade.

This year, the number of Catholics rose by 1.7 per cent, lower than the 2 per cent average of the 10-year period. However, this reflects the country’s declining birth rate.

Of the country’s 16 dioceses, the Archdiocese of Seoul is the most populous with 1,417,695 members, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (767,398) and the Archdiocese of Daegu (458,128).

The country’s clergy consists of 4,522 priests and men and women religious, as well as 32 bishops, including a cardinal.

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