The following article was originally published by Bloomberg Businessweek and is reproduced here as part of the Bloomberg BusinessWeek Everyday Health series.
In the U.S., the number of Catholic priests has risen from more than 1.5 million in 1878 to more than 2.1 million today.
The average age of a priest in the United States is 67, the most in the world.
The number of priests who are laypeople has increased from fewer than 2 percent in the early 1900s to over 7 percent today.
There are now more than 8.7 million Catholic priests worldwide.
Pope Francis said he hopes the current surge of Catholics to the priesthood will help usher in “a new and a richer era” of religious life.
He said in his annual encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that “this is the day when the Gospel reaches its full potential.”
The pope also said he has “seen an explosion of young Catholics, the young priests, the people in the parishes who are serving their mission.”
Bishop George Schori of New York said in a statement the pope is “the voice of the voiceless and of the people who are voiceless.”
“The pope has also been a beacon of hope and a champion for the voicest among us,” Schori said.
“This is a day of reflection and hope for the future of all Catholics.”
The church is not a religion.
It is a way of life and is not intended to be a substitute for the sacraments.
It also doesn’t have to conform to some religious or moral code.
The church’s constitution says the pope has the power to choose and to ordain bishops.
It gives the pope wide authority to appoint bishops, and he can also delegate the authority to bishops and priests.