The Vatican's official yearbook, the Annuario Pontificio, formally presented to Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 28, shows a gradual increase in the number of Catholic priests worldwide. There are now more than 408,000 priests in the world (up from 405,178 in 2000), and more than 115,000 seminarians training for priestly ministry.
The number of priests has grown by over 20 percent in Africa and Asia and is holding steady in the Americas. Europe and Oceania experience a slight decline, the Vatican said.
An uptick in those interested in and entering religious life is noted in VocationMatch.com's annual surveys on vocation trends. Click here for more information on VISION's statistics and recent vocation surveys.