Chrism Mass At St Peter's, April 18, 2019 © Vatican Media

Statistics: Migratory Flux of Priests Between Continents

Note of Central Office for Church Statistics

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The Central Office for Church Statistics prepared a brief note, to quantify the migratory flux of priests between Continents, reported L’Osservatore Romano on July 6, 2019.
The analysis concerns diocesan clergy and refers to the statistical situation in four dates: 1978, the reference year, 2005, 2013 and 2017.
The mobility of diocesan priests in the world in 2017 concerned just under 19,000 individuals, about as many as 2013 and 21.3% more than the migration movement detected in 2005. A comparison with the year 1978 witnesses, on the contrary, a significant diminution of 25.9%.
Throughout the period examined, Africa and Asia presented negative balances, that is, that the number of diocesan priests that arrived and came from other Continents was always inferior to that of priests who left the Continent.
Europe, for the years 2013 and 2017, and Oceania, for the years 2005, 2013 and 2017, presented positive migratory balances. America is the Continent that, for the whole period examined, shows a positive migratory balance.
In the period 1978-2017, the migratory flux of priests between Continents certainly played an important role, but rather limited in the Catholic Church explains the note. The reinforcement of the migratory movements of priests can’t be excluded in the years to come.
The text also adds that the European and American priestly corps are the oldest and weakened by the very low renewal rates. In the future, the Asian and especially the African Continents, where candidates to the priesthood are in net growth, could replace the functions exercised up to the present by the priests of the Old Continent and of North America, guaranteeing a renewed vigor to the ecclesiastical teams.

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Marina Droujinina

Journalist (Moscow & Brussels). Theology (Brussels, IET).

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