Friday, June 12, 2009

The Catholic Bishops' Report

The report of the Bishops on the 2008 Catholic Statistics had no real surprises except for the fact that the number of Catholics has reached the 5 million mark- 10% of the population consider themselves Catholic.

The first official statistical report was published in 1907 with a total of 70,000. There has been a very large increase over the intervening years. However, it is not all rosy as one editorial expressed it in business parlance: "we have been selling more with a decrease in the profits."

From the year 2000 we have been increasing but the number of infant baptisms, those frequenting the Sacraments, Sunday attendance has decreased, the number of tepid has increased. The number of women is 58% and men 41%. This can be seen in any Sunday Mass. The Seoul Diocese has the largest percentage of Catholics with 13.6% .The number of those coming into the Church over the past 7 years is an increase of about 2%. This seems to hold steady for the other religions.

The most significant figure for me is the number of those attending Mass on Sunday. This should be a reliable figure of the devotion of our Catholics. It is 24% a decrease of 6.7% from what it was in 1998. The United States despite the problems the Church has had with the sexual abuse issue, the closing of Churches and other serious scandals, the number of Catholics is reported to be 25 percent that attend Mass on Sunday. That for me is an extraordinary figure when I compare it to the Korean 24%. We know statistics can mean very little but it does make the Korean Church concern on trying to match the internal situation with what we can see externally a very important task for the future.