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The baptized have grown by 50 percent in the past 20 years in South Korea

There has been a considerable growth in the number of baptized Catholics in South Korea in the last 20 years, a new report says made by the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea.


According to the report issued by the Catholic Pastoral Institute of Korea and sent to Agenzia Fides, the number of Catholic Christians here increased by 48.6 percent, from 3.9 million in 1999 to 5.8 million in 2018 and today make up 11.1% of the overall population in Korea.

In the two largest dioceses (Suwon and Daejeon) the number of Catholics has almost duplicated with around 80 and 90 percent of increase in the past two decades. 

The proportion of Catholics in the same period grew from 8.3 to 11.1 percent, but the mass attendance rate, a key indicator of believers, is much lower.

Based on the new report, a steep fall can be seen among churchgoer Catholics. The ratio of mass attendance has dropped from 29.5 to 18.3 percent which, presumably, is the result of the rapidly aging Catholic population.

The report says: “The steep fall in the Sunday mass attendance rate is noteworthy. All dioceses have made various efforts to bring back tepid Christians and overhaul the church, but any significant change has yet to come”.


Religious freedom is guarainteed in South Korea, however in its northern neighbour, the Communist dictatorship has been oppressing Christians since the second half of the 20th century. 

According to Open Doors’ new report, “North Korea has been ranked as the hardest country to live as a Christian since 2002. Here,

Christians are considered enemies of the state because they dare to believe in a higher authority than the reigning, Kim family who demands absolute loyalty and obedience”.

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Photo is from the courtesy of Unsplash.

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