ADROP of 1,500 in the number of Catholics in Scotland last year is reported in this year's issue of the Scottish Catholic Directory. There were also 26 fewer priests-1.264 against 1,290. The number of parishes increased by two to 448.
According to the directory, the number of Catholics in Scotland decreased last year to 815,500. This is a reversal of the trend in England and Wales where, according to statistics issued in January by the Catholic Education Council, the Catholic population rose last year by more than 16,000 to reach a total of 4,106,057.
No official explanation was available for the decline in Scotland's Catholic population after years of rising. but an official said: "There is a slow and almost imperceptible downward movement in estimated population in this country.
SMALLER EAmiLIES "One can only make intelligent guesses about why this is, but it seems there is a fairly high proportion of Catholics among those who emigrate. Catholics are also having smaller families nowadays and a growing number of people are ceasing to have an allegiance to any Christian church."
The Scottish Directory none is being published in England and Wales this year -also revealed that the number of senior students for the priesthood rose by two to 136 Iasi year but the number of junior students fell by 12 to 253.