The Catholic Church in many parts of the world is experiencing what is being called a ‘priest crisis.’ In 1970, there was one priest for every 800 Catholics in the United States. Today, that number has more than doubled, with one priest for every 1,800 Catholics. Globally, the situation is worse. The number of Catholics per priest increased from 1,895 in 1980 to 3,126 in 2012, according to a report from CARA at Georgetown University. An inadequate supply of priests already has forced hundreds of parishes to close or consolidate. Priests aren’t getting any younger, either. Their average age is 63. In 2016 there were only 37,192 priests, comparing to 67.7 million parish-connected Catholics. Recent statistics might be holding some signs of renewal of trends as millennials answer the calling, despite unpopularity of the priestly profession. During the last 10 years priestly ordinations began to slowly grow. Pope Francis recently answered a question about the priest shortage by stating he would be ‘open to married Catholic men becoming priests.’ Many Church officials believe the requirement of celibacy is the main reason fewer men are joining the priesthood. Millennial priest Reverend Sinisa Ubiparipovic is a Parochial Vicar at St. Paul Parish in Hingham, MA. Parishioners call him Father Sinisa. He was ordained in 2015 at the age of 28, he works with the local community, regularly broadcasts mass on CatholicTV, and faces the challenges of this calling.
ZUMA Press Launches this week: zReportage: “Faith in America” Photography by © Alena Kuzub.