286 page report Latin American and Caribbean Cathedral Conferences (Selem) warns of a sharp decline in confidence. 41% of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America and the Caribbean. The number of baptized people there is twice that of both Europe and Africa, four times that of Asia, and six times that of North America.
The report notes a sharp decline in baptisms and a similar decline in marriages. For example, annual baptisms fell by more than a third between 2000 and 2020, from 8.2 million to 5.1 million. The number of Catholic marriages is also gradually decreasing. ‘The decline in the number of baptisms and other rites such as confirmations and marriages raises questions about holiness in the region. The Church must take into account the changing cultural and social realities of Latin America and the Caribbean,’ says the archbishop. Jorge Eduardo Lozano, Salem General Secretary.
The Church’s loyalty has also declined dramatically, meaning its influence among Latin American populations is declining. ‘More and more people are distancing themselves from the company.’
It is encouraging that the number of priests in the Central America and Mexico region doubled from 10,957 to 22,016 in 2020. The number of religious women is decreasing. Archbishop Lozano: “This raises questions about the future of their works and their impact on the most vulnerable communities.”
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