Africa, Asia lead as world's Catholic population tops 1.196 billion
Mar 10, 2012, 12:46 GMT
Vatican City - The number of Catholics in the world grew by 15 million in 2010 to reach 1.196 billion, mainly led by growth in Africa and Asia, Vatican figures showed Saturday
The annual church statistics, the latest available, were contained in the 2012 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, a copy of which was presented to Pope Benedict XVI.
From 2009 into 2010, a decrease was registered in the number of Catholics in South America, from 28.54 to 28.34 per cent of the continent's population. During the same period, the European percentage slipped from 24.05 to 23.83.
The Vatican noted that the number of Catholic priests continued to rise into 2010, a recent reversal after years of decline starting in 2000. Figures showed the number of priests at 412,236, compared to 410,593 in 2009.
The largest surge in ordinations was registered in Asia, with 1,695 new priests, and in Africa, with 761. During the same period, the number of priests in Europe declined by 905.
Statistics relating to the number of nuns 'were characterized by a strongly decreasing dynamic,' with a total decline of 7,436 to 721,935.
Again, the drop was most pronounced in Europe, where almost 3 per cent fewer nuns were registered. In contrast, Africa and Asia both registered increases of around 2 per cent.
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