The Catholic Church in Argentina, a country with a rich tradition of Catholicism, is experiencing unprecedented levels of religious and social decay.
The latest figures from the Vatican indicate that between 2015 and 2020, the number of priests has plummeted by about 90%, from 1,000 to less than 50.
That’s nearly a 50% drop in the past two decades.
There are also more than 30,000 people currently serving in parishes, and in the Vatican itself, the Vatican Council of Cardinals says it expects a total of 2.6 million priests to be ordained by 2025.
There’s no indication of when that number will increase.
In the U.S., more than 100,000 Catholics have lost their jobs over the past five years.
The Catholic church is facing similar pressures in Argentina.
Pope Francis is under fire for not having a Catholic bishop in Buenos Aires, a city of 1.6m people, in time for the Christmas season.
He was also criticized for not using the traditional Catholic liturgy of the Mass, which has become increasingly secular in recent years.
A priest who was ordained to the rank of cardinal in the Argentine archdiocese in 2012 resigned from the post amid protests, citing financial problems.
The pontiff also said in March that he would not appoint a bishop to serve in Argentina in the coming years, a decision that sparked widespread protests.
The Vatican has acknowledged that Argentina’s religious life has been severely damaged by decades of economic decline.
The number of people living in poverty is at record highs.
And it’s unclear how long the country will continue to struggle with poverty.
Argentina is also the world’s largest producer of opium, a drug that is used to treat addiction and is also addictive, and is believed to be the world source of the opium poppies that are widely used in the U of A and other universities.
The pope’s critics have accused him of not living up to his church’s traditional mission, particularly in relation to abortion and same-sex marriage.
He has also been accused of hypocrisy, for using the priesthood to defend abortion and for his support of same-, intersex and transgender rights.
Argentina has been under severe economic and social pressure since Argentina’s economy crashed in 2013.
A $4 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund was the first time that Argentina has ever been able to get international support.
The country’s unemployment rate has remained above 20% for more than a year.
The crisis has sparked an outpouring of support from many Latin American countries, including Mexico, Brazil and Chile.
A series of demonstrations against the pope’s decision to appoint a new bishop in Argentina began in Buenos Aries, the capital of the archdiocesan state of Buenos Aires.
The demonstration, which included members of the Argentinian clergy, included a mass at the cathedral of the Catholic Church of Buenos Ayres on Thursday, which was attended by more than 5,000 participants.
The protest was called by the Argentine Catholic League, an umbrella group of more than 200,000 priests, nuns and religious.
It included a sign reading: “Pope Francis is not the pope of Argentina.”
The group also urged Argentina’s bishops to condemn the pope for what they see as his abandonment of Argentina’s traditional role as a “nation of faith”.
Argentina has also seen a surge in the number and popularity of protests in the city of Quito, where anti-Francis demonstrations have taken place in recent weeks.
In March, thousands of people marched through the city to the Vatican to demand the resignation of the Argentine pope.