From the Finnish press

Work for priests has significantly decreased over the last few years.This year, new priests are inaugurated notably less than in previous years. There are no jobs for priests as people resign from church in growing numbers and the congregations become poorer. The inauguration can be performed only if the priest already has a position or a long term temporary post.

This year, 56 priests have been inaugurated. The rest of the year will still see the number increasing by just a few. Last year, 84 priests were inaugurated, while the year before the number was 90. In the years before that, the amount has climbed over a hundred. In 2008, as many as 145 priests were inaugurated.

"New posts are rarely created, and old ones remain unfilled. The situation for currently graduating theologists wishing to become priests is poor. Finding employment within the church requires exceptional effort," researcher Kati Niemelä from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Helsinki says.

For a long time, the church was known as an excellent employer. During the last years, unemployment in the theology field has increased notably. The unemployment rate for theologists is approximately five per cent at the moment.

LEHTIKUVA / Sari Gustafsson