269 priests died in Italy in first year of pandemic

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269 Catholic priests have died of COVID-19 in Italy over the past year, according to religious news agency SIR.

The vast majority of these fatalities happened in Northern Italy, with Lombardy the worst-affected region with some 88 deaths, or 33% of the total.

Some 742 priests died of all causes in 2019, before the pandemic hit, while last year the total rose to 958, an increase of 30%, said SIR, which is an entity of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI).

The epidemic practically cancelled out the generational change due to new ordinations, which were 299 last year, according to the agency.

via Reuters