Nineteen Sixty-four is a research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University edited by Mark M. Gray. CARA is a non-profit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church's self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. Follow CARA on Twitter at: caracatholic.

7.10.2019

For Its Size, The Church in Myanmar is Producing More Priests than Anywhere Else


Every three years CARA calculates diocesan ordination rates in the United States, which are published in The CARA Report. This post looks globally at national ordination rates for diocesan priests. This is done with the most recent available ordination data for 2015, 2016, and 2017 and Catholic population data for 2017 from the Vatican’s Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae. The table below lists countries in rank order by number of Catholics to ordinand ratios. While we analyzed data for every available country the table only includes those that satisfy the following qualifications: 1) has a population of at least 100,000 Catholics, and 2a) a total of at least nine ordinations in the three years examined or 2b) has at least one ordination in each of the three years.

Brazil is one of the countries with more than 1,000 ordinations in the most recent three years for which data is available. India also ordained more than 1,000 men. The difference between the two countries is that there are 22 million Catholics in India compared to 175 million in Brazil. Thus, India had 14,433 Catholics per diocesan ordinand compared to 137,846 Catholics per ordinand in Brazil. India is producing more priests (1,523 from 2015-17 compared to 1,269 in Brazil during the same period) with a smaller Catholic population.

The countries creating the most new priests relative to the size of their Catholic population include: Myanmar (8,193 Catholics per ordinand), Thailand (10,514 per ordinand), Togo (12,381 per ordinand), Vietnam (12,843 per ordinand), and Bangladesh (12,967 per ordinand). This includes four Asian countries and one African country.

The United States comes in just above the middle of the pack with 52,869 Catholics per ordinand. Just ahead of the U.S. is Great Britain, where many more new priests per Catholic are ordained than in neighboring Ireland (52,867 Catholics per ordinand compared to 117,404 in Ireland).



Ordinations


Rank
Country
2015
2016
2017
Total
Catholics per Ordinand
Catholics
1
Myanmar
21
29
33
83
8,193
680,000
2
Thailand
15
9
13
37
10,514
389,000
3
Togo
61
53
54
168
12,381
2,080,000
4
Vietnam
163
183
189
535
12,843
6,871,000
5
Bangladesh
8
7
15
30
12,967
389,000
6
Mali
12
6
5
23
13,130
302,000
7
Eritrea
4
4
8
16
13,625
218,000
8
India
490
531
502
1,523
14,433
21,981,000
9
Romania
35
30
32
97
14,897
1,445,000
10
South Korea
118
102
145
365
15,704
5,732,000
11
Sri Lanka
40
27
27
94
16,936
1,592,000
12
Ukraine
81
113
91
285
17,330
4,939,000
13
Guinea
1
4
11
16
17,625
282,000
14
Israel
4
6
7
17
17,765
302,000
15
Ghana
61
62
82
205
18,317
3,755,000
16
Senegal
23
4
14
41
19,268
790,000
17
Egypt
6
4
4
14
19,286
270,000
18
Japan
11
7
9
27
19,852
536,000
19
Botswana
1
2
2
5
22,800
114,000
20
Cameroon
86
116
88
290
22,976
6,663,000
21
Equatorial Guinea
6
24
9
39
23,282
908,000
22
Malta
3
9
5
17
24,353
414,000
23
Syrian Arab Republic
2
3
4
9
24,444
220,000
24
Taiwan
5
3
1
9
24,778
223,000
25
Bosnia and Herzegovina
7
7
2
16
25,125
402,000
26
Burkina Faso
40
30
46
116
25,405
2,947,000
27
Benin
40
53
36
129
28,450
3,670,000
28
Nigeria
319
342
347
1,008
28,646
28,875,000
29
Sweden
1
2
1
4
30,000
120,000
30
Sierra Leone
1
6
3
10
31,300
313,000
31
Slovakia
36
43
45
124
32,331
4,009,000
32
Solomon Islands
1
2
1
4
32,750
131,000
33
Ethiopia
12
12
3
27
33,556
906,000
34
Rwanda
37
59
60
156
35,449
5,530,000
35
Zimbabwe
16
19
18
53
36,811
1,951,000
36
Indonesia
64
61
96
221
37,068
8,192,000
37
Poland
327
339
327
993
37,325
37,064,000
38
New Zealand
10
2
4
16
37,438
599,000
39
Lebanon
24
19
14
57
37,579
2,142,000
40
Chad
10
18
4
32
39,594
1,267,000
41
Croatia
40
23
26
89
41,000
3,649,000
42
Gabon
10
5
7
22
44,000
968,000
43
Iraq
1
9
3
13
45,308
589,000
44
Albania
6
2
3
11
46,000
506,000
45
Congo
14
16
25
55
47,691
2,623,000
46
Burundi
41
37
60
138
49,065
6,771,000
47
Pakistan
3
14
11
28
49,393
1,383,000
48
Czech Republic
28
25
13
66
50,182
3,312,000
49
Great Britain
37
32
36
105
52,867
5,551,000
50
United States
503
447
436
1,386
52,869
73,277,000
51
Madagascar
32
56
58
146
56,390
8,233,000
52
Italy
342
336
308
986
58,738
57,916,000
53
Papua New Guinea
11
19
10
40
60,650
2,426,000
54
Serbia
2
2
2
6
66,667
400,000
55
Uganda
79
112
82
273
67,220
18,351,000
56
Australia
46
27
24
97
69,268
6,719,000
57
Zambia
19
31
28
78
70,910
5,531,000
58
Belarus
6
6
7
19
76,789
1,459,000
59
Slovenia
8
10
2
20
76,950
1,539,000
60
El Salvador
30
23
14
67
78,463
5,257,000
61
Haiti
31
35
34
100
80,380
8,038,000
62
Central African Republic
7
5
11
23
80,826
1,859,000
63
Kenya
76
56
54
186
80,952
15,057,000
64
Malaysia
9
3
3
15
81,133
1,217,000
65
Latvia
1
3
1
5
82,400
412,000
66
Hungary
21
25
22
68
88,074
5,989,000
67
Colombia
157
180
180
517
89,238
46,136,000
68
Tanzania
55
66
57
178
89,792
15,983,000
69
South Africa
10
13
19
42
92,643
3,891,000
70
East Timor
1
8
3
12
101,500
1,218,000
71
Portugal
25
34
30
89
102,697
9,140,000
72
Dem. Rep. of the Congo
167
140
124
431
104,942
45,230,000
73
Spain
158
130
110
398
109,060
43,406,000
74
Paraguay
13
28
19
60
109,900
6,594,000
75
Germany
60
79
74
213
112,437
23,949,000
76
Costa Rica
7
13
15
35
112,886
3,951,000
77
Peru
103
81
60
244
116,861
28,514,000
78
Ireland
19
16
12
47
117,404
5,518,000
79
Hong Kong
1
2
2
5
120,200
601,000
80
Mexico
314
309
312
935
121,089
113,218,000
81
Honduras
28
17
14
59
122,949
7,254,000
82
Malawi
16
18
13
47
124,149
5,835,000
83
Canada
44
32
44
120
135,067
16,208,000
84
Ivory Coast
69
58
54
181
135,751
24,571,000
85
Brazil
471
348
450
1,269
137,846
174,926,000
86
Nicaragua
13
23
3
39
146,026
5,695,000
87
Angola
34
31
43
108
151,852
16,400,000
88
Switzerland
5
9
7
21
163,619
3,436,000
89
Austria
11
11
9
31
165,194
5,121,000
90
Uruguay
6
2
8
16
168,063
2,689,000
91
Bolivia
15
27
14
56
172,232
9,645,000
92
Venezuela
67
42
49
158
174,677
27,599,000
93
Dominican Republic
24
14
16
54
178,370
9,632,000
94
Mozambique
14
16
12
42
181,452
7,621,000
95
Philippines
147
170
146
463
186,566
86,380,000
96
Puerto Rico
9
1
5
15
188,400
2,826,000
97
Ecuador
21
36
20
77
189,545
14,595,000
98
Argentina
86
66
62
214
194,266
41,573,000
99
France
69
88
83
240
202,671
48,641,000
100
Guatemala
20
20
20
60
225,883
13,553,000
101
Netherlands
7
8
6
21
226,190
4,750,000
102
Panama
7
5
4
16
226,813
3,629,000
103
Lithuania
3
5
3
11
232,727
2,560,000
104
South Sudan
8
8
7
23
270,217
6,215,000
105
Cuba
8
5
11
24
283,125
6,795,000
106
Sudan
2
1
1
4
298,250
1,193,000
107
Chile
19
6
11
36
377,833
13,602,000
108
Belgium
10
3
6
19
431,158
8,192,000


In addition to the countries listed above, there are a number of other countries of note with fewer than 100,000 Catholics that have at least nine ordinations in the three years examined or at least one ordination per year. In fact, remove the minimum 100,000 Catholics requirement and Nepal shoots to the top of the list with 2,667 Catholics per ordinand (3 ordinations; one each year with a total Catholic population of 8,000). Other countries that would appear if the Catholic population restriction is removed while the other requirements are maintained include: Samoa (3,444 Catholics per ordinand), Niger (3,833 per ordinand), Liechtenstein (5,600 per ordinand), Denmark (7,833 per ordinand), Kosovo (11,000 per odinand), Kiribati (16,750 per ordinand), and Fiji (21,333 per ordinand). However, these ratios are, in part, a function of having very small Catholic populations. At the same time it is still remarkable that Catholics in these nations are consistently choosing to become diocesan priests.

Last we looked in 2017, the top U.S. dioceses for Catholics per ordinand were Nashville (4,678 Catholics per ordinand), Crookston (5,348 per ordinand), Covington (6,455 per ordinand), Lincoln (6,506 per ordinand), and Knoxville (6,912 per ordinand). Check out The CARA Report in the near future for updated diocesan rankings. 

Image courtesy of Billy Lopue.

Note: The Vatican includes Ireland and Northern Ireland as Ireland and Great Britain includes England, Wales, and Scotland.

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