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Worldwide  number  of Catholics  increases, decline  marks  in Europe

By  our  religious  Correspondent

Vatican City,  Nov 03 (IVC)   The  number  of  Catholic priests  and bishops  decreased  while  the overall number  of Catholics  have  increased , according to the latest Church’s  Book  of  Statistics, released here  recently.

Every  year Fides News  Agency   puts  together a  Church Statistics  ahead  of  World  Mission Sunday, which this  year  was  on October  22.

                The  numbers  were collated from  the  latest  Church’s  Book  of  Statistics that  was  updated   to  December  31, 2021.  The statistics  relate  to  numbers of  the  Church, church structures, healthcare , welfare  and education, Vatican  sources said.

                The  population  of Catholics in Europe  has declined  while in all the continents  marked  an increase in the population.  The Catholics  in the world numbered 1,375,852,000  with  an overall increase of  16,240,000  compared  to  the  previous  year.  There  was an  increase  in the  population of Catholics  in all the continents  except  Europe  where  there  was  a decline  in the  number  to  244,000.  The  increase  in Africa was  8,312,000, America  6,629,000 , Asia  1,488,000 and  Oceana 55,000.

                The  number  of  Bishops  in the  world  decreased  by 23, to 5340 and  priests  by  2347  to 407,872, Statistics  revealed .

                The  number  of nuns also  declined  to 10,588  of  which Europe  accounted  for  7804  nuns.

                Following  decline in the  number  of  priests worldwide,  there  was a change  in the ratio of priest and faithful  and  it  has  become  3373  faithful  per    priest.

Did  secularization overtake  Latin  America  too? The  Catholic Church  which  remains  very  strong  in this  part  of  world is  showing  signs  of   decline.  This is borne  by  figures from  a  recently  published study  conducted  by the  Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM) .                 Latin  America  still  has the  world’s Catholic population.  The  Church in the  region reported  some  562 million  baptized  members  in 2020, that  is  41 per  cent  of the  world’s  share.  It  is  well  ahead  of   Europe  which  has  286  million Catholics  or  21  per  cent of  the  world’s total  Catholic  population and Africa  has  256  million  Catholics  that  is  19  per  cent  of  the  world  number  of Catholics. 

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