» 05/13/2013, 00.00
Growth in number of Catholics worldwide, number of priests and seminarians also increase
The data from the Statistical Yearbook of the Church. The faithful of Rome have passed, from 1196 in 2010 to 1214 million in 2011, up 1.5%. Asia remains a religiously vibrant continent: number of faithful and priests rise, as do the number of professed religious who are not priests, seminarians, and in contrast to the world's data, the number of nuns.
(AsiaNews) - The number of Catholics in the 2979 ecclesiastical jurisdictions
around the world is up as is the number of bishops, priests, deacons and
seminarians, however, the number of women religious has decreased. This is the
data that has emerged from the 2011 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae,
presented this morning to Pope Francis together with the 2013 Pontifical
Yearbook, which refers to 2012 and which includes records for the election of
Asia remains a religiously
vibrant continent: the number of faithful and priests is up as is the number of
professed religious who are not priests, seminarians, and in contrast to the
world's data, also the number of nuns.
The number of Catholics worldwide rose from 1196 in 2010 to 1214 million in
2011, an increase of 1.5% and since this growth is only slightly higher than
that of the Earth's population (1.23%), the presence of Catholics in the world
remains essentially unchanged (17.5%). Territorial analysis of changes in this
period, show an increase of 4.3% of Catholics in Africa, which instead saw a
population increase of 2.3%. Asia also registered an increase in the number of
Catholics that was higher than that of the population (2.0% versus 1.2%). The
growth in the number of Catholics in America and Europe remained stable, in
line with population growth (0.3%). In 2011, the total number of baptized
Catholics distributed across the continents is: 16.0% in Africa, 48.8% in the
Americas, 10.9% in Asia, 23.5% in Europe and 0.8% in Oceania.
The number of bishops in the world increased, from 2010 to 2011, from 5,104 to
5,132, with a relative increase of 0.55%. The increase particularly involved,
Oceania (4.6%) and Africa (+1.0%), while Asia and Europe are slightly above the
global average. America did not register any changes. Given these different
dynamics, however, the distribution of Bishops across the various continents
remained largely stable over the last two year period under consideration, with
America and Europe alone, continuing to represent nearly 70 percent of the
Globally, the presence of the diocesan and religious priests has increased over
time, growing in the last decade from 405,067 units as of December 31, 2001, to
413,418 as of December 31, 2011 (+2.1%). This evolution was not, however,
uniform in different geographical areas. The dynamics of the number of priests
in Africa and Asia is somewhat comforting, with a +39.5% and +32.0%
respectively (and with an increase of over 3,000 units, for the two continents,
in 2011 alone), while America remains stationary around an average of 122
thousand units. Europe, in contrast to the global average, has seen a decrease
of more than 9% in the past decade.
Permanent deacons are booming both globally and in individual continents,
passing from a total of more than 29,000 in 2001 to about 41,000 units a decade
later, with a variation of more than 40%. Europe and America registered both
the most numerically significant and vibrant trend. In fact, the European
deacons, little more than 9,000 units in 2001, were almost 14,000 in 2011, an
increase of over 43%. In America the number grew from 19,100 units in 2001 to
more than 26,000 in 2011. These two continents, alone, account for 97.4% of the
global total, with the remaining 2.6% split between Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The group of professed religious who are not priests has continued to firmly
establish itself over the last decade, registering just over 55,000 units in
2011. In Africa and Asia there are variations of +18.5% and +44.9%,
respectively. In 2011 these two continents together counted for over 36% of the
total (compared to less than 28% in 2001). In contrast, the numbers registered
in Europe (-18%), America (-3.6%) and Oceania (-21.9%) dropped by almost 8
percentage points over the last decade.
A strong downward trend was observed in data for the professed [women]
religious, with a decrease of 10% from 2001 to 2011. The total number of
professed religious, that counted than 792 thousand units in 2001 is now at
just over 713 thousand 10 years later. The decline particularly affects three
continents (Europe, America and Oceania), with significant variations (-22% in
Europe, -21% in Oceania and -17% in America). In Africa and Asia, however,
there has been a sustained increase, more than 28% in the first continent and
18% in the second. Consequently, the fraction of professed religious in Africa
and Asia out of the global total increased from 24.4% to about 33%, at the
expense of Europe and America, whose dropped respectively by a total of 74% to
Candidates for diocesan and religious priesthood globally went from 112,244 in
2001 to 120,616 in 2011, an increase of 7.5%. The evolution was very different
in the various continents. While, Africa (+30.9%) and Asia (+29.4%) showed a
lively growth, Europe and America recorded a decline of 21.7% and of 1.9%;
respectively. As a result, we observe a reduction in the contribution of the
European continent to the growth potential of the renewal of priestly life,
with a quota that has passed from 23.1% to 16.8%, compared with an expansion of
the African and Asian continents.
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