More Catholics on all continents except Europe
The number of Catholics is increasing on all continents except Europe, according to new data issued for World Mission Sunday.
Independent Catholic News reports that new data taken from the latest edition of the Church's statistical yearbook, as of December 2003, baptised Catholics increased by 0.3%, and now comprise 17.23% of the world's population.
There was a slight increase in the number of priests, a decrease in the number of women religious, and a sizeable growth of lay missionaries and catechists.
The number of Catholics grew by over 15 million, totalling more than 1.085 billion worldwide.
The number of Catholics increased in Africa by 0.34%, America by 0.17%, Asia by 0.03% and Oceania by 0.37%. Europe decreased by 0.31%.
The number of persons per priest in the world increased by 156 (the overall ratio was 12,264 to 1). By continent, the numbers were as follows: increase in America (+63) and Europe (+57) and Oceania (+13); decrease in Africa (-409) and Asia (-450).
The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 35 (the overall ratio was 2,677 to 1). By continent: increase in America (+51) and Europe (+12), in Africa (+29), Oceania (+13); Asia same as last year (average 2,407 Catholics per priest).
The number of bishops in the world increased by 47, to 4,742. The numbers increased on every continent, markedly in Europe (+23).
The number of women religious fell 6,663, to 776,269. Decreases were reported in Europe (-9.397), the Americas (-2.843) and Oceania (-297); increases were seen in Asia (+3,445) and Africa (+2,429).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious, decreased by 826, to a total of 112,373.
Overall increases were posted in Asia (+686) and Oceania (+9). Diocesan major seminarians fell by 711, to 72,266; and religious seminarians fell by 115, to 40,107. Both categories decreased in Africa, the Americas and Europe; but increased in Asia. In Oceania, diocesan seminarians increased and religious seminarians decreased.
Minor seminarians, diocesan and religious, increased by 1,411, to 98,372. Increases were posted only in Europe (+84) and Oceania (+57). Minor diocesan seminarians fell by 1,081, to 75,562; religious fell by 330, to 22,810.
Europe saw an increase in diocesan seminarians, and a decrease in religious. Oceania showed an increase in both categories.
Latest Catholic Church statistics (Independent Catholic News/Fides 24/10/05)
Rapid Increase in Alternative Forms of The Church Are Changing the Religious Landscape (The Barna Group 24/10/05)
Church Growing Everywhere Except Europe (Zenit 23/10/05)
26 Oct 2005