CBCK News



Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2009 Published


The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea (President: Most. Rev. Peter Kang U-il) published Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2009 on May 24, 2010.


According to the Statistics, as of December 31, 2009, the number of Catholics in Korea accounted for 5,120,092 or 10.1% of the total population. It passed 10% mark for the first time, an increase of 115,977 from the previous year. The total number of Catholics in Korea has consistently increased with an average of 2-3% p.a. during the past 10 years, passing the four million mark in 2000 and five million mark in 2008 respectively.


Of the 15 dioceses in Korea, the Archdiocese of Seoul was the most populous with the faithful of 1,406,710 or 27,4% of the total Catholics in Korea, followed by the Diocese of Suwon (743,833 or 14.5%), the Archdiocese of Daegu (450,826 or 8.8%), and the Diocese of Incheon (437,621 or 8.5%). Adding up the number of the faithful in metropolitan area, i.e. Seoul, Suwon, Incheon and Uijeongbu, it accounted for 55.1% of the Catholics in Korea.


By gender, the number of the male faithful was 2,119,601, and that of the female faithful 2,992,774, or 41.5% and 58.5% respectively of the total Catholic population of Korea. The gap is getting narrower every year, but it seems that this imbalance will be continued for a considerable time.


By age group, 52.3% of the total faithful were in their 30s, 40s and 50s. The number of faithful under 20 years of age accounted for 28.3% and those over 60, 19.2%. The Statistics indicated that the rate of the faithful under 12 has been decreasing every year except for 2001 and 2007. On the contrary, the rate of middle-aged and elderly faithful has been increasing every year, in proportion to the country`s aging trend. Therefore, it seems that the Church in Korea should prepare measures for pastoral care of the youth and pay more particular attention to senior adults, as well.


According to the Statistics, the number of the newly baptized in 2009 was 156,947, a high increase of 10.9% from the previous year (141,484). By diocese, it was 33,641 in the Archdiocese of Seoul, 20,625 in the Diocese of Suwon, 11,574 in the Archdiocese of Daegu, and 11,017 in the Diocese of Incheon. By gender, the newly baptized men represented 86,188 and the women 71,759. It reveals that there is no significant difference between male and female faithful by gender composition. The number of the baptized infants amounted to 25,698, an increase of 7.5 % compared to previous year. However, the baptism for the babies under 1 year old decreased to 2,191, a big decline from 2008, which shows that we need to make much more pastoral effort to promote infant baptism.


The Statistics also indicated that the number of clergy in Korea in 2009 amounted to 4,404, with 30 bishops including 1 Cardinal. The total number of Korean priests was 4,193 and foreign missionary priests 181. Among them, 3,608 were diocesan priests, 617 were religious and 148 were missionary priests. The new priests ordinated in 2009 were 149, an increase of 21 from the previous year. And priests in their 20s to 40s(aged 20-49) accounted for 69% of the diocesan priests.


However, the number of seminarians was 1,399 including 138 deacons, few change compared to previous year (1,413).

The number of parishes in 2009 was 1,571, an increase of 28 from the previous year, while the number of mission stations was 1,017, a decrease of 20 from the previous year. The number of the faithful per priest was 1,171. By diocese, there were 219 parishes in the Archdiocese of Seoul, 191 in the Diocese of Suwon, 154 in the Archdiocese of Daegu.

With regard to men and women religious, there were 1,555 men religious, including novices, religious in temporary and final vows as well as foreign religious, while 10,073 women religious were counted in 2009. Both of them showed small increase from the previous year.


The number of the celebrations of the Sacrament of Matrimony amounted to 26,309 in 2009, of which 15,500 were marriages between the baptized and the non-baptized, which accounted for 58.9% of the matrimonial cases. The number of the faithful who received the Sacrament of Confession and the Sacrament of Baptism in danger of death was 68,055 and 16,895 respectively. The rate for receiving the Sacrament of Confession as part of Easter and Christmas duty was 34.2% (1,107,123) and 39.2% (1,112,410) respectively in 2009. And the average rate of Sunday Mass attendance was 25.6% (1,310,118) of the total Catholics in Korea. However, the number of non-practicing Catholics, including whereabouts known and whereabouts unknown, were 1,413,851, or 27.6% of the total Catholics.


With regard to devotional associations, the number of Cursillo members accounted for 9,101, that of M.B.W members 1,228, that of members of the Marriage Encounter 6897 and that of Legion of Mary members was 263,571 in 2009.


Statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea 2009 is compiled on the basis of the pastoral documents collected from 16 dioceses, 7 Catholic Universities and men and women religious institutes in Korea, which shows the annual statistics of the Catholic Church in Korea as of December 31, 2009. This statistics will be helpful to understand present situations of the Catholic Church in Korea and also be useful reference data for making some pastoral policies.

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