WelCom November 2020
New data released by the Vatican shows the number of Catholics is on the rise worldwide. The global Catholic population grew 16 million to 1.33 billion in the past year, according to figures released by the Vatican.
The percentage of Catholics in the world remained at 17.73 per cent, indicating the increasing numbers are in line with world population growth.
All continents reflected growth. Africa reported the most significant increase in Catholics with 9.2 million. Europe increased by 94,000, showing a rise for the third year running. Growth in the Americas was 4.5 million, 1.8 million in Asia, and 177,000 in Oceania.
Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, has presented the statistics annually since 1927.
However, according to a report issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the number of priests and ordained leaders has dropped significantly. The reduction is particularly notable in Europe and America.
The total number of priests in the world decreased to 414,065 in 2018, with Europe registering a drop of 2,675 priests compared to 2017.
The reduction in clergy combined with the increase in Catholics is putting pressure on priests. The figures reveal there are now 3,210 Catholics to every priest, and over 14,000 people per priest worldwide. There has also been a significant decline in the numbers of religious women.
Sources: Catholic News Agency, Religion News Service