ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Catholic Church Statistics: Around 11.3% of Koreans are Catholics

Wednesday, 3 May 2023 local churches  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - The number of Korean Catholics in the country's 16 dioceses is 5,949,862 in 2022, an increase of 0.2% (11,817) compared to the previous year.
According to data collected at the end of 2022, the proportion of believers in the total population of Korea (52,628,623) is 11.3%, similar to the previous year. Compared to 2021, the country's total population has decreased by 104,077 people, but the number of Catholics has increased slightly. This is what emerges from the yearbook of "Statistics of the Korean Catholic Church 2022", published in recent days by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea. The study contains data updated to 31 December 2022, and was carried out by consulting parishes, male and female religious associations and congregations, educational institutions, institutions and bodies involved in pastoral care. In addition to the statistics, the Korean Catholic Pastoral Research Institute of the Catholic Bishops' Conference has also published an analysis of trends related to the presence of the Catholic Church and its institutions in Korean society.
According to the statistics, the average number of Sunday worshipers in 2022 totaled 699,681, which is 11.8% of all believers. This is an increase of 3% compared to 2021 and reflects the situation in 2022 when restrictions on Sunday worship were lifted due to the pandemic. However, it is noted that in 2019, 18.3% of all believers still attended Mass.
The total number of newly baptized in 2022 was 41,384, an increase of 13.3% compared to 2021 (36,540 baptisms). Baptism is divided into three types: infant baptism, adult baptism, and death baptism. The rate of increase for adult baptism is 9.3% and the rate of increase for death baptism is 16%. Infant baptism, which is an indicator of the transmission of the faith, saw an average decrease of 7.2% from 2015 to 2019, while there was a 22.1% increase in 2022 compared to 2021.
The number of confirmed candidates, the sick asking for the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, first confessions and first communions has increased slightly overall compared to 2021.
The number of Catholic priests has increased slightly, while the number of religious has decreased: the total number of priests is 5,703, 77 more than in the previous year (5,626). There are two cardinals, 40 bishops and 5,661 priests (5,515 Koreans and 146 foreigners). The number of priests who are members of religious communities has increased by 16 to 826 and the number of priests from communities of apostolic life is 149, an increase of 2 over the previous year. In 2022, 96 priests were ordained, a total of 3 more than the year before.
Among lay faithful, 42.9% are male (2,551,589) and 57.1% female (3,398,273). The proportion of believers aged 65 and over is 26.4%. Altogether 55.9% (3,326,925 people) of the total number of believers live in the big cities (Seoul, Incheon, Suwon, Uijeongbu). The number of parishes is 1,784, an increase of 5 over the previous year.
The number of church organizations is currently given as 173, with two new women's orders being added. There are 1,602 ordained men in 48 orders and 9,974 women in 125 religious congregations. A total of 227 novices prepare for the vows and wear the habit for the first time.
As for ad gentes missionary activity, the number of Korean missionaries abroad is 1,007, down 108 units compared to the previous year. Of these, 244 are priests, 55 monks and 700 nuns, while the number of lay missionaries is 8 (2 more than last year). (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/5/2022)