Sunday, April 19, 2015

2014 Statistics for Korean Catholicism

Both Catholic papers in their recent issue, introduced to the readers the statistical report on the  condition of Catholicism in Korea for 2014. Summarizing: there was  an increase of 5% of those  entering the church from the previous year, and another decrease to 20.7 % of the Catholics who go to Sunday Mass.  

In 1999 the index of those attending Sunday Mass dropped to the 20% level from (29.5%); 15 years later it will be entering the 10% zone. In 1980 the church was at the height of its favorable opinion among the citizens, but this did not show in the  devotional life of the parishioners nor in their community life. 

From 1999 there has been an increase of 40.89% in the number of Catholics. However, sacramental life, group activities and  religious studies have decreased. We can't base everything on these statistics but  they do show direction. The  future for Catholicism in Korea is not  overly bright  and demands some serious concern and alternative proposals.  

One of the editorials mentions the 'Pope Francis effect' on the church may have some truth, but it should show in the numbers going to Mass and the Sacraments and this is not the case. Until we see the change in those who frequent the Sacraments and attend Mass, and become involved in group activity we can not  speak about the 'Francis effect' in Korea, was the conclusion. 

The number of priests and religious is also showing a decrease from previous years. The age of the Catholics is also increasing with the ages from 50 to 55 being the largest with 9.8%. Those under 19 have decrease to 3.6%. Those over 80, the women number 74.3%.

Korea is listed as the 46th country with the largest number of Catholics, and in Asia they are the fifth after the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Vietnam according to the  Statistical Yearbook of the Church.

Numbers of those falling away from the Church is  seen by the drop in those  going to Sunday Mass, and the numbers who are no longer going to Confession. The task of those responsible for the pastoral work will need to find solutions to stem the tide, and new ways to evangelize those in the pews.                     

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