Vol. 16 No. 6
March 12 - 25, 2012
Catholic Church is growing: increasing number offaithful, bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians
VATICAN City, March 10, 2012—TheCatholic Church appears to be in goodhealth, with a global increase in thenumber of faithful, bishops, priests—es-pecially in Asia—deacons and seminar-ians. The decline of men religious seemsto have halted however that of womenreligious continues, even if contradictedby their growth in Africa and Asia.
These are the gures that emerge fromthe Pontical Yearbook 2012, which was
presented this morning to Benedict XVI,along with the Annuarium StatisticumEcclesiae annual Church statistics.The Yearbook has revealed some im-portant novelties regarding the CatholicChurch in the world, since 2011. Dur-ing the year 8 new episcopal sees werebuilt, 1 Personal Ordinariate and 1 Mili-tary Ordinariate; 1 archdiocese and 8dioceses in metropolitan locations wereerected; 1 prelature, 1 apostolic vicariateand 1 apostolic prefecture were elevatedto diocese and 1 mission “su iuris” toapostolic prefecture.The statistical data for the year 2010,provides a summary analysis of keytrends in the Catholic Church in theplanet’s 2,966 dioceses.In 2010 there were just under 1,196million Catholics, compared to about1.181 million in 2009, for a total increaseof 15 million faithful at 1.3%. The territo-rial impact of Catholics suffered notice-able variations between 2009 and 2010:they have reduced their importance inSouth America (from 28.54 to 28.34 percent) and especially in Europe (from24.05 to 23.83 per cent). They reclaimedposition in Africa (from 15.15 to 15.55per cent) and South East Asia (from10.41 to 10.87 per cent).From 2009 to 2010, the number ofbishops in the world increased from5,065 to 5,104 with a relative increase of0.77%. The increase was in Africa (+16new bishops), America (+15) and Asia(+12), while a slight decrease occurredin Europe (from 1,607 to 1,606) andOceania ( 132 to 129).The growth trend in the number ofpriests, which began in 2000, continuedin 2010, for a total of 412,236 priests,277,009 of which are diocesan clergyand 135,227 religious clergy, but in2009 there were 410,593 priests dividedinto 275,542 diocesan and 135,051 reli-gious. Overall, the number of priestshave increased from 2009 to 2010 bya total of 1,643 units. The increasesare recorded in Asia (+1,695 priests),in Africa (+761), Oceania (with +52)and America (with +40 units), whilethe decline has affected Europe (with-905 priests).The number of permanent deacons,both diocesan and religious, continuesto show a trend of high growth in 2010.In fact, this year saw an increase of3.7%, compared to 2009, rising from38,155 to 39,564. Permanent deaconsare present mainly in North Americaand Europe with a respective share ofthe global total of 64.3% and 33.2%.The decline that has affected thecategory of religious seems to havehalted somewhat in 2010. In 2009they counted 54,229 and the num-ber reached 54,665 in 2010. In sharpdecline in South America (3.5%) andin North America (0.9%), stationaryin Europe, vocations to religious lifehas increased in Asia (+4.1%), whichincrease its share of the world total,and Africa (+3.1%).Even the number of professed womenreligious is undergoing a profoundtransformation characterized by astrongly decreasing dynamic. Globally,the number dropped from 729,371 in2009 to 721,935 in 2010. The decline hasfocused on three continents (Europe,
America and Oceania), with signicant
negative changes (-2.9% in Europe, inOceania -2.6% and -1.6% in America). InAfrica and Asia, however, the increase
was very signicant, at around 2% for
both continents.The number of students of philoso-phy and theology in diocesan and reli-gious seminaries has steadily increased
over the last ve years. On the whole, it
is up 4%, from 114,439 units in 2005 to118,990 in 2010. The number of studentsin the major seminaries is down in Eu-rope (-10.4%) and America (-1.1%), upin Africa (+14.2%), Asia (+13.0%) andOceania (+ 12.3%).
F I L E P H O T O
TOKYO, Japan, March 9, 2012—A year after one of the mostdevastating Japanese naturaldisasters in history, ArchbishopLeo Jun Ikenaga of Osaka is call-ing on Catholics to pray for thosewho died in the earthquake andtsunami and for the reconstruc-tion of the country.“What happened on March11, 2011 will never be forgottenin our lifetime,” Archbishop Ike-naga said in a letter to JapaneseCatholics.Archbishop Ikenaga urgedthe faithful to pray not only thatthe disaster areas will be recon-structed, but also that those whodied as a result of the disaster“will be given eternal repose inthe hands of God.”
To mark the rst anniversary,
bishops from all over Japan willcelebrate Masses in their dio-ceses. Archbishop Ikenaga said itis his hope that these Masses willallow people to pray together“across the nation.”Despite the horror of the earth-quake and tsunami, which leftthe Japanese “deeply shocked,”Archbishop Ikenaga said he wasable to “recognize how wonder-ful it is for people to supporteach other” by the generousdonations and support of volun-teers all over the world.Koreans showed their supportby holding up signs in front ofnews cameras that said, “Welove Japan. Japan will overcomethe hardship!”The archbishop recalled how Japan received donations from“all over the world,” nuclearspecialists from overseas offered“generous support,” and localsfrom “all over Japan” volun-teered in the clean up.“Facing unreasonable andcruel realities, we are largelyimpressed and encouraged bynumerous people at home andabroad who are making every ef-fort to help the affected persons,”Archbishop Ikenaga said.On Feb. 15, all of the active Japanese bishops offered Mass atTokyo’s Sekiguchu Cathedral in
anticipation of the rst anniver
-sary of the disaster that killed anestimated 20,000 people. Approxi-mately 400 people attended theMass, which was dedicated to thememory of the disaster victims.In his homily, Bishop TetsuoHiraga of Sendai—whose dioceseis home to the crippled Fukushi-ma Dai’ichi power plant—offeredhis thanks to the volunteers whocame from Japan and abroad.Volunteer efforts, mostly be-ing organized by Caritas Japanand the Diocese of Sendai, arenow focused on reconstructionand “will be carried on for manyyears to come.”“The word ‘unimaginable’has become a regular part ofmy vocabulary in the past year,”Bishop Tarcisius Isao Kikuchi ofNiigata and president of Caritas Japan said in a March 11 letterto donors.Less than a week after theMarch 11 earthquake, Caritas Japan sent staff to Sendai to workwith the local diocese to providerelief and assist in the rebuildingprocess.
Caritas Japan opened its rst
relief base in Shiogama, a major
shing and sh processing city,
to help clean up homes that werebadly damaged but still salvage-able. After shoveling mud anddebris out of the homes, volun-teers drank tea and spoke withresidents, giving survivors a“sense of solidarity in rebuildingtheir lives.”Ishinomaki, the second largestcommunity in the Miyagi Prefec-ture, lost 4,000 residents to thetsunami that followed the earth-quake. Many survivors were left
homeless, but were able to nd
shelter at Kadonowaki JuniorHigh School, one of Caritas Ja-pan’s largest evacuation centers.In the town of Shizugawa,
a shing town in the Minami-
Sanriku district, Caritas Japanopened a cafe-style distribu-tion center “where listening tosurvivors facilitated relation-ships.” Since the establishmentof temporary housing, Caritas Japan has created “mobile ca-fes” to distribute supplies andcontinue “its service of listen-ing.”
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On disaster’s frst anniversary, JapaneseCatholics turn to prayer
Convert priest thrilled to host Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury
ROME, Italy, March 9, 2012—Catholic con-vert Father Peter Hughes prefers to describehimself as “an Anglican who is now in fullcommunion with Peter.”“In a personal sense I have made this jour-ney, and it has been both a fascinating and ademanding one,” said Fr. Hughes, the priorof San Gregorio al Celio monastery in Rome,in an interview with CNA. Fr. Hughes wasreceived into the Catholic Church in 2000,after many years as an Anglican vicar in hisnative Australia and in England.This weekend he will experience his lifecome full circle as he hosts both Pope Bene-dict XVI and the Anglican Archbishop ofCanterbury Rowan Williams. The two reli-gious leaders will pray Vespers together tomark the 1,000th anniversary of the monasticCamaldolese Order, which has overseen SanGregorio since the mid 1500s. “The thoughtof living one’s own ecclesial tradition in adifferent context and celebrating what is rich
in both …is reected in this whole celebra
-tion,” said Fr. Hughes.He believes this weekend’s events signifythe “deepest desire” of the Pope and theAnglican leader “to move towards a com-
Thousands attend Bishop’s funeral
KHUNTI, India, March 5, 2012—More than 10,000 people yester-day attended the funeral of Bishop Stephen M Tiru of Khunti in Jharkhand.The 74-year-old bishop died the previous day at his residence inKhunti. Cardinal Telesphore P Toppo, head of the Catholic Church in Jharkhand who joined the seminary with Bishop Tiru, led the funeralservices, assisted by 11 bishops and more than 500 priests.The cardinal said illness had forced his seminary companion tolead “a very painful life” for many years, but he never let his problemaffect his dealing with people.A message of condolence from Pope Benedict XVI was read at thethree-hour funeral service.
munion which symbolically, structurally,sacramentally, institutionally can finallyreach its consummation.”The venue of San Gregorio monastery
comes with added signicance for English
Christians. In the late 6th century Pope Greg-ory the Great dispatched St. Augustine fromthe monastery to convert the Anglo-Saxons toChristianity, thus making them “not Angles,but Angels.” St. Gregory actually built themonastery on the site of his family home.“This is the third time that a Pope has metwith the Archbishop of Canterbury in thehouse of Gregory the Great,” Fr. Hughesexplained.“So, this connection with the English, thisconnection with Canterbury is fundamentalto the celebration.”In recent years, the search for unity has
been made more difcult as many Anglican
churches have liberalized their stance onmoral issues, such as homosexuality.An internal report published last year alsosuggested that the rate of decline amongAnglican congregations is so severe that theChurch of England could be “functionallyextant” or effectively dead in 20 years.But Fr. Hughes is still hopeful for Christianunity. “We’re always searching for expres-sions of God’s will. I think the desire forunity is as strong as ever. I think we need tolook for ways in which we can stimulate ourprogress,” he said.“This weekend is a way of saying, ‘thisis another step on the way,’ another way oflifting our spirits and saying this is still some-thing to hope for and this is still somethingto work for concretely.”
Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams and PopeBenedict XVI
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Against abortion, for life: Vietnamese Catholics mark International Women’s Day
HO CHI MINH City, Vietnam,March 9, 2012—For VietnameseCatholics, International Wom-en’s Day (8 March) provided anopportunity to reiterate the non-negotiable values of human life,from conception, and to renew
the ght against abortion.
Recently, the Ho Chi Minh CityPeople’s Committee launcheda family planning campaign(similar to those in other Asiannations) to encourage poor andyoung women to end their preg-nancy in exchange for US$ 50and health care insurance.However, in schools, offic-es and families, InternationalWomen’s Day was used to pro-mote traditional values andculture, listen to Bible readingsand remember that “God cre-ated human beings as males andfemales,” with equal dignity to“complete one another.”In today’s Vietnam, men stillrule. Women are relegated to mar-ginal roles, often discriminated,victims of violence and abuse be-hind the walls of home. The coun-try’s pervasive socialist culture hasled to a moral collapse, and valueshave imploded, especially amongyoung people who are the firstvictims of the omnipresent mate-rialism. The latter leads youth tolive and work under a rigid politi-cal ideology whose ultimate goalcurrent five-year plan (2011-2015), which aims at imposingpopulation controls, includes thepossibility of going to hospitalfor sterilisation in exchange forUS$ 50 and a two-year free healthcare card.Such policies lead young wom-en to kill their foetus for money.For every 100 live births, 75 haveno chance to come into this worldbecause they are “unwanted.”A recent survey shows that 51per cent of students and youngpeople who live in the cities arein favour of abortion. Many alsothink that it is normal for youngmen and women to live togetherbefore marriage. For many, itis acceptable that teenage girlshave legal abortions.Figures from local health agen-cies indicate that each 1,400,000abortions are performed. Thatincludes 500,000 among womenunder the age of 18.According to the most recentdata (2009), Vietnam has a popu-lation of 85,789,573, 43,307,024 ofwhom are women.Some 25,374,262 or 29.6 percent live in cities; the rest, 70.4 percent, live in the rural areas, whichare often poor and backward.The fertility rate is 19.58 per1,000 women. The infant mor-tality rate is 29.88 per 1,000.
is the accumulation of wealth, as
conrmed by professors, sociolo
-gists and educators.“To deal with social problems,the government and the educationsystem need to have programmesof sex education that promote hu-man dignity,” said Maria H. T.,a catechist in Ho Chi Minh City.“On behalf of the Catholic Churchin Vietnam, we must talk withteens and parents that abortion ismurder and a felony”In the former Saigon, Catholicsare against the government’sfamily planning policies. The
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Vatican museums participate in Etruscan exhibit
“The Etruscans: Heroic Ideal and Lustrous Wine” is the title ofan exhibition presented this morning in the Vatican Museums,which will open in Palazzo Mazzetti in the Italian city of Astion March 17. According to the Vatican Information Service, theexhibition brings together more than 300 pieces, some of which
are little known or are being put on display for the rst time.
One hundred and forty artifacts come from the GregorianEtruscan Museum of the Vatican Museums, and the othersfrom the principal Etruscan collections in Italy.
Cardinal preaching pope’s retreat loses nephew toviolence
The cardinal who has been preaching Benedict XVI’s annualLenten retreat has just lost a nephew to violence, the Fides agencyreported Thursday. A nephew of Cardinal Laurent MonsengwoPasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo,was killed in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Feb. 22. The presi-dent of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference andarchbishop of Johannesburg, Archbishop Buti Joseph Tlhagale,sent his condolences to the Monsengwo family, Fides reported.“The loss of any life by violence is not according to the will of
God,” Archbishop Tlhagale afrmed. “The fact that another life
is lost in Johannesburg—whoever it is—is very sad.”
Hackers reportedly launch second attack on Vatican
The loose-knit group of hackers known as Anonymous havereportedly launched a second attack on the Vatican website,after failing in its initial attempt to bring the site down on
March 7. The latest attack has not yet been conrmed or de
-nied by the Vatican. The vice director of the Holy See’s Press
Ofce, Father Ciro Benedettini, said the March 7 attack was
not successful, as the hackers failed to post their distinctivelogo on the Vatican website. On March 12, the hackers statedon their Italian blog that they expect the Vatican to publiclyexcommunicate them. They accuse the Holy See of damagingpublic health with the antennas of Vatican Radio and alsoclaim to have broken into the site’s database.
Migration benecial to all involved, Vatican diplomatsays
The Vatican’s top diplomat to the United Nations refugeeagency told a conference in Rome that despite its challenges,
migration is ultimately benecial to everyone involved. “Inthe long run migration has proven to be a benet for both the
countries of arrival and the countries of origin and, above all,for most of the migrants,” Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, theHoly See’s Permanent Representative to the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees, told CNA. ArchbishopTomasi was speaking at a March 8 conference in Rome entitled“Building Bridges of Opportunity: Migration and Diversity”organized by the US Embassy to the Holy See and hosted by
the Pontical North American College.