More Than Half of Italian Religious Are Older Than 60

ROME, NOV. 12, 2001 ( More than half of the 24,730 religious living in Italy are at least 60, the age when many people in this country retire, a study says.

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A study presented at the Italian Conference of Major Superiors last week in Bussolengo revealed that 6% of Italian religious are younger than 30; 11% are between the ages of 30 and 39; and 10% are between 40 to 49.

Another 17% are age 50-59; 21% are age 60 to 69; 22% are age 70 to 79; and 13% are older than 80.

Father Mario Aldegani, 48, provincial minister of the Congregation of St. Joseph, who has just been elected president of the superiors conference, said: «It´s true, we are getting older and vocations are decreasing.

«However, this is not a dramatic event in itself. The problem would be if this situation weakens the vigor of religious life.»

Father Aldegani said the provincial superiors indicated they will follow the Church and obey the bishops.

In regard to consecrated life, the meeting reflected a common need to «listen to and understand the questions» posed by religious.

«Four years ago, we decided to work on our ´relation´ with the Church, society, culture,» Father Aldegani said. «We must continue on this path, increasingly rooting our identity in the Church and the world. Despite the difficulties and crisis, consecrated life continues to represent an extraordinary wealth.»

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