Already in the 2016-2017 academic year, the number of aspirants to the priesthood fell for the first time below 1,300, and in the 2018-2019 academic year there were only 1,203.
The bishops’ subcommittee for seminaries said that the drop in the number of 54 seminarians compared with the 2021-2022 academic year “is explained, among other things, by the new methodology in data collection and was the responsibility of the Office of Transparency of the Episcopal Conference.”
Other factors cited affecting the number of seminarians include “secularization and lack of commitment on the part of not a few young people, which are also reflected in other statistical data, such as the decreasing number of marriages, both civil and ecclesiastical.”
In addition, Spain has a very serious demographic problem with fewer and fewer children being born and the population aging more and more.
Despite the decrease in numbers, the Spanish Bishops’ Conference encouraged the faithful “to be grateful that a significant number of young people live committed to searching for the will of God, who invites us to embrace a beautiful vocation in his Church.”
Given the serious import of the data, the conference launched the Vocational Pastoral Service in September 2022, which reports to the General Secretariat and whose objective is “to create in our pilgrim Church in Spain a vocational culture that helps children, young people, and adults to consider their vocation.”
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