Poland: COVID-19 pandemic led to dramatic drop in marriages and Catholic rites

The pandemic led to a serious drop in marriages and baptisms in Poland

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Małgorzata Puzyr

New data shows the dramatic affect the pandemic had on the operations of the Catholic Church in Poland.

In 2020, 312,000 people were baptized, which was a 16.3 percent decrease compared to 2019. Another 252,300 people took the sacrament of confirmation (a 34-percent decrease) and the number of marriages in 2020 was only 91,500 (26.8 percent less than in 2019), according to the Catholic Church Statistics Institute’s (ISKK) statistical yearbook.

The ISKK also admitted that the coronavirus pandemic had restricted pastoral activity and the scale of performing sacraments.

However, there were some bright spots for the Church, with the number of people taking their first holy communion amounting to 298,000 — 49,000 more than in 2019, representing a 20-percent increase.

There was also a clear continuation of the operation of Catholic structures and organizations in Poland, such as parishes, dioceses and convents.

According to the report the number of parishes in Poland has maintained a stable level. There were 24 208 priests in 2020 which was only a 2 percent decrease compared to 2019. Moreover, there were 2,071 active female convents which contained 16,800 nuns – a 2.5-percent decrease compared to 2019. In the case of active male convents, there were 11,000 monks in Poland, which is a 1.4-percent decrease compared to 2019.

The ISKK noted that the pandemic had forced the Church to adapt and change the forms of pastoral service and the way in which sacraments were performed.

Additionally, according to the report, 85.7 percent of all students took part in religion lessons in all kinds of schools in the 2020/2021 school year.

In addition, 2,437 family life counselling services operated during 2020, and they cooperated with 4,000 advisors. The report also shows that 173 specialist Catholic family counselling services operated in dioceses in 2020 and helped over 31,000 people.

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