Category Archives: Church (ecclesiology)

The Church by the numbers 2013


On 13 May 2013, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB, the Secretary of State and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the assistant in the same office, presented the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (the Church’s Statistical Yearbook) to Pope Francis and the rest of the Church.

This annual publication is official document outlining ever imaginable stat one would want to know, and more.

The statistical information in the Church Yearbook refers to the year 2011 which details the Catholic Church in the 2,979 ecclesiastical circumscriptions. That is, the dioceses and other administrations of the Church around the planet.

As already known, the Church is diminishing in Europe and growing in Asia and Africa.

General statistics:

  • From 2010 to 2011, the number of bishops increased from 5,104 to 5,132;
  • The steady increase in the number of priests which began in the year 2000 has continued. From 412,236 priests in 2010 to 413,418 in 2011;
  • The number of permanent deacons registered a strong increase: from 29,000 in 2001 to 41,000 in 2011;
  • Candidates for the priesthood, diocesan and religious, have increased since 2001 (112,244) by 7.5%. In 2011, there were 120,616 registered;
  • The number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.196 billion in 2010 to 1.214 billion in 2011, an increase of 18 million faithful.

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Clarence Gallagher, SJ, RIP

The Church mourns Father Clarence Gallagher, SJ, who died yesterday in England.

My friendship with Father Clarence didn’t run long or deep as though who studied under him or sought him for spiritual counsel. But knowing him was a delight; he was helpful in some matters pertaining to me several years ago when he was just leaving the office of rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute (PIO), Rome (1990-95).
His mission in England and later in Rome was as being the formation director of Jesuits in formation and who also served as professor, spiritual father, Dean of Canon Law and Rector of the PIO. Moreover, he was also a judge in the canon law courts of the Second Instance of the Lazio dioceses. Father Clarence is remembered for his humor and availability in a Church facing many ecclesial changes in the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s as he ably guided people of all ranks in the Church through the changes that came with the implementation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law and later the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Church.

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What does it mean to be a priest?

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The priest as a spiritual father is the compass leading the people to righteousness, to virtuous path to God. He protects the Christian identity in all its complexities by educating our religious sense as Fr Giussani teaches. The faith community is as strong, stable, and capable in mission,, vocation, and charitable activities as the leaders are willing to lead.  A “high ecclesiology,” if you will, shows us that the priest is gateway to the faith and he shows the way to salvation; but a priest can only be a gateway if he has the people who form the walls and is aware that Christ is the foundation. Too often these days the Catholic priest is not a man of prayer, learning, culture, good humor; many priests have lost a sense of heroic virtue.

How does the priest address the needs of the faithful today? Can the priest answer the questions being asked by the faithful and those seeking to know God,or at least willing to do the work needed to answer these questions? What type of witness needed today by the priest viz. the culture, media, and politics, so that we are happy, healthy and loving Christians? What are the concrete ways can we focus on God? How do Christians face nihilism with faith, hope and charity? What does it mean to be a person –and not merely an individual– realizing that the person is a part of a whole who glorifies God?

As you can tell, I am thinking about these things. What I am reading on this subject will make for another post, but I spent time listening to two presentations.

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Jesuit presence therefore influence in Rome

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A significant Jesuit presence in key places for the Church’s ministry of proclaiming and living the Gospel exists that few may not be aware of. Since the time of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Society has done some remarkable things for the good of the Church. And every Pope since Paul III has relied on generosity of thinking and action of the Jesuits in Rome. Pope Francis has asked the Society to continue… Presence means influence. 

Interesting stats:

  • 12 Pontifical residences in Rome are staffed by Jesuits;
  • 3 Pontifical institutions for higher learning in Rome: The Gregorian University, the Oriental and Biblical Institutes;
  • 1 Radio center (Vatican Radio);
  • 1 journal (La Civiltà Cattolica);
  • 6 Jesuit cardinals: but only one of them participated in the 2013 conclave, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The other Cardinal entitled to participate, Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja, Archbishop-emeritus of Jakarta (Indonesia), was unable to attend due to ill health;
  • The Pontifical Gregorian University indicates that there are 57 Cardinal alumni of Jesuit pontifical institutions in Rome, the Gregorian and the Biblicum (49.6% of all participants in the Conclave). Several of them were also professors at the Gregorian University: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, William Joseph Cardinal Levada, Velasio Cardinal DePaolis, CS, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, and Walter Cardinal Kasper (not an exhaustive list.);
  • And other works coordinated by the Jesuit Curia under the leadership of the Jesuit Superior General.

Pope Francis calls Archbishop Loris Capovilla

Keeping up appearances…by phone…with previous papal administrations. Pope Francis apparently is touching base with key people in history of the Church from the 20th century. He spoke with Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla, 97, one of the oldest prelates in the Church today. A priest (73 years) of Venice, he was ordained to the episcopacy in 1967 and served as the archbishop of Cheiti-Vasto and later he was the Prelate of the Shrine of Loreto. His Excellency is the former secretary of Blessed John XXIII. L’Osservatore Romano will run this story on April 3.

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A simple, moving gesture: last Monday, at 6:30 p.m., the telephone rang at Ca’ Maitino di Sotto il Monte, John XXIII’s summer residence, where today Archbishop Loris Francesco Capovilla lives and where the Suore Poverelle cherish memories of Pope John. As usual Capovilla answered himself. It was Pope Francis who was calling him because, among the many messages of good wishes, he had received directly an Easter message written in the light of the Second Vatican Council, edited by Pope Roncalli’s former Secretary, subtitled: “With Pope Francis we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pacem in Terris on 11 April 2013 and on 3 June 2013 of the passing of John XXIII:  a detailed agenda.  With the Bishop of Rome who greets the Secretary who was the companion at arms of the Pope of the Council and says to him “I see him with the eyes of my heart“, Capovilla told us. “It was a very great surprise and I like to consider this telephone call made to this place where John XXIII was born rather than to me myself: as a tribute to him and to his roots“. Capovilla, who will be ninety [-eight] in October, mentioned that the Pope had stressed certain parts of the message he had sent him: a few pages together with a few pictures (of Manzù’s medal for the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Francis on the Loggia the evening of his election; Francis and Benedict XVI from behind, kneeling in prayer together at Castel Gandolfo; a portrait of John XXIII by Hans-Jürgen Kallmann), and some very short texts  “as precious as a homily”, as Francis described them.  In their brief conversation the Pope asked Capovilla “to pray John XXIII to help the Pope and everyone to be better people”,  Archbishop Capovilla continued: “I also reminded him of my age and he remarked that the spirit counts more. I told him that I have both Christian and non-Christian friends and that to this day the Lord has accompanied me”. And he added that he had “humbly asked His Holiness for a blessing for the inhabitants of Sotto il Monte, for his parish community, for the relatives of the Pope of the  Council”, and for “all those who work with me together with the Bishop of Bergamo”.

Marco Roncalli

April 3, 2013

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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