Open Letter


Statistical Analysis

>Please consider the shortage of priests in the Amazon in a global context. It can be addressed only as such, in the spirit of solidarity within the entire church. Attached is a statistical analysis of the clerical and lay populations of the Church; “On the shortage of priests”. In summary this analysis shows that:

  • The shortage of priests is not solely a concern of the Amazon and even not specific to the thinly populated regions. It can also be found in densely populated urbanized areas;
  • A manifest lack of solidarity is observed, even among neighbouring “family" dioceses in South and Central America. With an average of about 7,000 faithful per priest for the entire South and Central America (including Mexico) some dioceses suffer with 10,000 to 20,000 or more faithful per priest, while other dioceses have 3,000 to 4,000 faithful per priest;
  • Taking as a baseline the current global average of about 3,000 faithful per priest, the actual total shortage for South and Central America (including Mexico) is at least 100,000 priests, which is much greater than the actual number of priests available in South and Central America;
  • The religious congregations have potentially lost at least 265,000 members since the Second Vatican Council. This has handicapped the Church globally and has seriously hampered its missionary efforts.