Number of Catholics on the rise in South Korea
The faithful now account for 10.4% of the total population
Nuns walk on a popular shopping street in Seoul (Photo by AFP Photo/Ed Jones)
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 this week 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.
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