WelCom March 2022
The number of Catholics worldwide increased by an estimated 16 million in 2020 to 1.36 billion, according to statistics released by the Vatican. 2020 is the most recent year when numbers are available.
The rise was in line with global population growth in the year that the coronavirus pandemic swept the planet, reported Vatican News. Catholics continued to account for 17.7 per cent of the total world population. The figures are compiled by the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics.
The Church grew most rapidly in Asia (1.8 per cent) and Africa (2.1 per cent) and most modestly in Europe (0.3 per cent). Almost half (48 per cent) of the world’s Catholics live in the Americas, with 28 per cent located in South America.
At the end of 2020, there were a total of 410,219 priests, a decrease of 4,117 compared with 2019. Although there was a fall in the number of priests in North America and Europe, there was a ‘significant increase’ in Africa and Asia, reported Vatican News.
The number of male religious who are not priests grew worldwide from 50,295 in 2019 to 50,569 in 2020. The number of women religious fell globally from 630,099 in 2019 to 619,546 in 2020, a drop of -1.7 per cent.
There were 111,855 seminarians in 2020, compared with 114,058 in 2019. There were notable decreases in Europe (-4.3 per cent), the Americas (-4.2 per cent), and Asia (-3.5 per cent) but a rise of 2.8 per cent (from 32,721 to 33,628) in Africa.
Source: CNA News