U.S. Catholic population increases while ranks of priests and sisters shrink

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2001

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. (AP) -- The U.S. Roman Catholic population continues to grow while the ranks of priests and sisters slowly shrink, according to data in the 2001 Official Catholic Directory.

But there were hopeful signs for the Catholic clergy. The number of seminary students increased over 2000 -- up 392 to 4,917 -- and newly ordained priests, up 73 to 536.

Still, overall numbers of clergy are on the decline. There are now 46,075 priests, down 528 from 2000, and 79,462 sisters, down 1,699 from a year ago.

A decade ago, there were 53,088 priests and 101,911 sisters.

Catholic membership increased in the year by nearly 1.3 million to 63,683,030.

The annual directory is published by P.J. Kenedy.

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