The continent is bucking the trend on priestly vocations

The number of seminarians has fallen amid what a Vatican document calls a “crisis of vocations”. But Africa – and one nation in particular – has bucked the trend.

Between 2012 and 2016, the number of men in seminary training for the priesthood fell by nearly 4,000, to 116,160.

The decline has been especially concentrated in the Americas and Europe. But in Africa seminary numbers have steadily increased. Uganda, Cameroon and Tanzania all show healthy increases; the most striking rise, of 66 per cent, is in Madagascar.

The figures come in the Vatican’s official statistical record, the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae, whose headline figures were published last week.

Seminary numbers, the Vatican report says, reached “a maximum in 2012 followed by a slow decrease”. This pattern was seen in several places including North America and Mexico.

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