VATICAN CITY, JULY 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Germany
that Benedict XVI will visit next month during World
Youth Day has lots of Catholics, but falling numbers of
priests and religious.
Catholics comprise 33.2% of the country's 82 million
people, says a report published today by the Vatican
press office. Catholics number 27.4 million, in 12,486
The ratio of Catholics to priests in Germany is
relatively favorable (1,456 to 1), but a crisis of
vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life is
beginning to be felt.
Over the last 10 years, as reflected in the Vatican
statistics, the number of major seminarians in Germany
has fallen from 1,249 to 1,159, and the lack of priests
in the country is evident.
Since 1996, the number of diocesan priests in Germany
has dropped 8.4%, from 15,669 to 14,344 at year-end
2003. Over the same period, religious priests declined
7%, from 4,821 to 4,482.
The decrease in the number of women religious is
particularly acute. Their ranks fell 21.8%, from 44,465
to 34,767. Men religious -- those who are not priests --
Schools and institutions
There are 2,505 permanent deacons in Germany.
Significant as well is the number of consecrated lay
people in secular institutes (2,098), lay missionaries
(461) and catechists (22,317).
The Church in Germany runs 9,478 kindergartens and
primary schools (with a total of 645,735 pupils), 794
lower and secondary schools (with 296,184 students), and
35 high schools and universities (with 17,116 students).
The Church in Germany is the institution with the
largest number of social and charitable works,
administering 536 hospitals, 1,359 outpatient clinics,
2,588 homes for the elderly and handicapped, 1,298
orphanages and shelters, 2,030 family consultation and
pro-life centers and 1,331 special education or
retraining and social reintegration centers.