The Catholic Times featured an article on the recent Catholic statistics published for the year 2019. The number of believers was 5,914,669. The number of church members increased slightly from the previous year but the growth rate relative to the total population was the same as last year. The ratio of believers to the total population is 11.1% but the growth rate slowed.
Fortunately, the number of members who are attending Mass and participation in the Sacramental Life, an indication of the faith of believers, has increased slightly.
On April 27, the Episcopal Conference released Korean Catholic Church Statistics 2019, a total survey of 16 dioceses of the country. According to the statistics, the growth rate of believers and the rate of evangelization is stagnant. In particular, the increased rate of believers compared to the previous year gradually declined to under 1% per year, except for 2.2% in 2014, when Pope Francis visited Korea, the lowest level at 0.8% was recorded in 2019.
The weekly Mass attendance rate was 18.3%, which was the same as in 2018. The rate of participation in the Easter Confessions and Communion was also 31.4%, up 0.1% from the previous year. Compared with the 2018 statistics, Confirmations decreased by 2.7%, but it is encouraging that the number of believers who received the Sacrament of the Sick (4.4%), First Communion (4.2%), and Easter Confession (0.4%), increased. In the 2018 statistics, all the sacraments except for the sick decreased from the previous year.
There are a total of 5,480 priests working in Korea, including two cardinals, 42 bishops, 5,333 Korean priests, and 147 foreign priests. This is an increase of 92 from the previous year. The number of parishes was 1,756, an increase of 9 from the previous year. There are 709 mission stations a decrease of 20 from the previous year.
The ratio of male and female believers was 42.8% for men and 57.2% for women which was similar to the 2018 statistics.
The number of priests has increased, but the number of seminary students continues to decline. The number of seminary students (priest aspirants) was 1,209, down 64 from the previous year. In 2019, the number of new students was 145 (123 diocesans and 22 for the religious orders and missionary societies). A decrease of 19 from the previous year.
The average number of believers per parish priest was 1,303, down 14 from the previous year.
The total number of marriages was 13,878 (5,160 sacramental marriages, 8,718 dispensation marriages), a decrease of 289 compared to the previous year. The ratio of the sacramental marriage to dispensation marriage is 37.2% to 62.8%. The number of marriages in the church is decreasing every year.
The total number of Korean missioners sent to overseas missions was 79, down two from the previous year. By continent, 1,112 missionaries are dispatched to Asia, (21) Africa, (19) South America (17 countries), and Europe (15 countries).