February 1, 2012. (Romereports.com)
According to the Catholic Church, for the first time in recent history, the number of religious priests has increased. They make up one third of the total number of priests. They dedicate their work to the needs of a religious order or a congregation. In 2010 there were 135,227, which shows an increase of more than 176 priests when compared to 2009.
The number of religious men who are not priests, has also increased. In 2010 there were 54,665, which accounts for 436 more than in 2009.
Among female religious, the situation is different. The number continues to fall, but the decline isn't as dramatic as in past years. The latests statistics state that there are almost 722,000 consecrated women. In 2009, there were