Vatican     1.045 BILLION CATHOLICS WORLDWIDE
The Vatican on Saturday reported that the number of baptised Catholics worldwide is 1.045 billion.
   That's up 40 million people from the church's count at 31 December 1997.
   The current number represents 17.4% of the world's people, The Vatican said.
   The Americas have the biggest share of the world's Catholics - 49.5%. Following are 27.8% in Europe, 11.4% in Africa, 10.5% in Asia and 0.8% in Oceania.
   Worldwide, there were 3,692,582 Catholics fulfilling pastoral duties in 1999, including 404,626 priests and 56,421 lay missionaries, the Vatican said.
   
AP 7/2/00

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