A NEW survey by the Fides mis sionary news service shows that Guatemala is the worst off for priests among the T.atin Atherican countries-and they are all suffering severely from a shortage of clergy.
There are only 149 priests for the 3.500.000 Catholics in this nominally Catholic country.
Moreover, among these three-anda-half million there are only 33 seminary students who have progressed beyond the preliminary stages of their training. The outlook for the future is all the more grim because fewer than half of the clergy are Guatemalans and the State has in recent years banned the entry of foreign priests (but not of Protestant ministers).
Some of the 149 priests teach in schools and colleges, others are unable o
eto do old age. because of in h The result is that each active parochial priest has some 80,000 Catholics under his care.
A great deal of these priests' time is spent going from place to place. Usually they are able to visit settlements only once a month or so. Their ministrations are confined almost exclusively to baptisms, confessions and attendance on the dying,