06/13/2018, 14.09
VATICAN
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Worldwide number of Catholics grows to 1.4 billion

The Statistical Yearbook of the Church shows that there are more bishops and permanent deacons. The number of priests stable but  religious and seminarians in decline. In Asia Catholics are 11% of the population, but vocations are growing

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The number of Catholics worldwide is growing - there are almost 1.4 billion - the number of bishops is growing -5353 - the number of priests is stable - over 400 thousand - the number of permanent deacons is growing  - they are 46.312. Instead there is a drop in the number of religious women - over 52 thousand - the number of religious men - 659 thousand - and vocations - 116,160. These are the most significant data that emerge from the publication of the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2016, published together with the Pontifical Yearbook 2018.

The first fact is that the number of baptized Catholics in the world has increased from 1285 million in 2015 to 1299 million in 2016, with an overall increase of 1.1%. This increase is lower than the average annual increase recorded during the period 2010-2015 (1.5 percent); and the growth is little less than that of the world population, so that the relative presence of baptized Catholics is down by only a few thousand: from 17.73 Catholics per 100 inhabitants in 2015 to 17.67 in the following year.

In this context, America remains the continent in which the greatest number of Catholics - it gathers 48.6 percent of the baptized globally - and Africa the fastest growing - the number of Catholics has passed from 185 million in 2010 to over 228 million in 2016, with a relative variation of 23.2%. In Asia there has been moderate growth for the continent home to over 60% of the planet's population. 76 percent of Catholics in Southeast Asia are concentrated in the Philippines (with a number of Catholics equal to 85 million in 2016) and in India (22 million).

Over the years between 2010 and 2016, the number of bishops rose by 4.88 percent, from 5104 in 2010 to 5353 in 2016.

In the period 2010-2016, the number of priests as a whole increased by 0.7 percent, from 412.236 to 414.969 units. However, when the diocesan and religious priests are analysed separately, it is noted that in the face of a growth of the former (1.55 percent), there is a significant  numerical decline (relative decrease of 1.4 percent). In the various continents the dynamics appear to be contrasted. Religious priests, with the exception of a few increasing exceptions such as Africa, the South-East Asian area and Central-continental America, are in general declining.

The permanent deacons is the fastest growing group of clerics. The average annual increase over the period 2010-2015 was equal to 2.88 percent, globally, and continued in 2016, albeit at a slower pace (2.34 percent); 46,312 compared to the 39,564 recorded in 2010. The territorial divergences remain very marked: in the years from 2010 to 2015 the most significant growth rates occur in Asia and in South America and in the central-continental area, while the slowest are recorded in North America, Europe and Africa.

The effective possibility of permanent deacons to cooperate with priests in the provision of pastoral services on the territory remains, however, limited. In the world, the distribution of deacons for every hundred priests present, in fact, is just 11.2 in 2016 and goes from a minimum of 0.48 in Asia to a maximum of 24.8 in America. The quotient in Europe is around 8 percent while in Africa it is equal to one deacon for 100 priests present.

In 2016, the number of professed religious brothers was 52.625 with 8731 in Africa, 14.818 in America, 12.320 in Asia, 15,390 in Europe and 1366 in Oceania. The decrease that occurred during the period 2010-2015, continued and in 2016 the group, worldwide, decreased by 3 percent.

The number of professed women religious in 2010 was 722 thousand and it was declining. In 2016 there were 659 thousand (-8.7%). The contraction recorded in the number of professed religious in the world is substantially attributable to a considerable increase in deaths, the result of a high presence of religious in old age.

Even for women religious there is a profound difference on the various continents: Africa, in the period 2010-2016, recorded the greatest increase (+9.2 percent), followed by Southeast Asia (+4.2 per one hundred). North America, on the other hand, has a negative record, with a contraction of almost 21 percent. Europe follows (with more than -16 per cent) and South America (-11.8 per cent), while the decrease recorded in Central-Central America and the Middle East is smaller. Finally, the situation in Central-Antilles America is substantially stationary, with a reduction of around 2 percent.

The decline in priestly vocations also continues. The number of seminarians decreased from 116,843 in 2015 to 116,160 in 2016 (683 units less, or 0.6%); the vocation rate (seminarians for 100,000 Catholics) dropped from 9.09 to 8.94.

In Asia, there is more positive data of 779 seminarians for the period. The Philippines and the Republic of Korea show a decline in vocations, with a negative balance of 1.1 percent for seminarians for the former and -30.2 percent for the latter, while Vietnam is constantly increasing and the balance is +48.3 percent. A slight increase was also registered in Indonesia, where vocations grew by 2 percent.Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The number of Catholics worldwide is growing - there are almost 1.4 billion - the number of bishops is growing -5353 - the number of priests is stable - over 400 thousand - the number of permanent deacons is growing  - they are 46.312. Instead there is a drop in the number of religious women - over 52 thousand - the number of religious men - 659 thousand - and vocations - 116,160. These are the most significant data that emerge from the publication of the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2016, published together with the Pontifical Yearbook 2018.

The first fact is that the number of baptized Catholics in the world has increased from 1285 million in 2015 to 1299 million in 2016, with an overall increase of 1.1%. This increase is lower than the average annual increase recorded during the period 2010-2015 (1.5 percent); and the growth is little less than that of the world population, so that the relative presence of baptized Catholics is down by only a few thousand: from 17.73 Catholics per 100 inhabitants in 2015 to 17.67 in the following year.

In this context, America remains the continent in which the greatest number of Catholics - it gathers 48.6 percent of the baptized globally - and Africa the fastest growing - the number of Catholics has passed from 185 million in 2010 to over 228 million in 2016, with a relative variation of 23.2%. In Asia there has been moderate growth for the continent home to over 60% of the planet's population. 76 percent of Catholics in Southeast Asia are concentrated in the Philippines (with a number of Catholics equal to 85 million in 2016) and in India (22 million).

Over the years between 2010 and 2016, the number of bishops rose by 4.88 percent, from 5104 in 2010 to 5353 in 2016.

In the period 2010-2016, the number of priests as a whole increased by 0.7 percent, from 412.236 to 414.969 units. However, when the diocesan and religious priests are analysed separately, it is noted that in the face of a growth of the former (1.55 percent), there is a significant  numerical decline (relative decrease of 1.4 percent). In the various continents the dynamics appear to be contrasted. Religious priests, with the exception of a few increasing exceptions such as Africa, the South-East Asian area and Central-continental America, are in general declining.

The permanent deacons is the fastest growing group of clerics. The average annual increase over the period 2010-2015 was equal to 2.88 percent, globally, and continued in 2016, albeit at a slower pace (2.34 percent); 46,312 compared to the 39,564 recorded in 2010. The territorial divergences remain very marked: in the years from 2010 to 2015 the most significant growth rates occur in Asia and in South America and in the central-continental area, while the slowest are recorded in North America, Europe and Africa.

The effective possibility of permanent deacons to cooperate with priests in the provision of pastoral services on the territory remains, however, limited. In the world, the distribution of deacons for every hundred priests present, in fact, is just 11.2 in 2016 and goes from a minimum of 0.48 in Asia to a maximum of 24.8 in America. The quotient in Europe is around 8 percent while in Africa it is equal to one deacon for 100 priests present.

In 2016, the number of professed religious brothers was 52.625 with 8731 in Africa, 14.818 in America, 12.320 in Asia, 15,390 in Europe and 1366 in Oceania. The decrease that occurred during the period 2010-2015, continued and in 2016 the group, worldwide, decreased by 3 percent.

The number of professed women religious in 2010 was 722 thousand and it was declining. In 2016 there were 659 thousand (-8.7%). The contraction recorded in the number of professed religious in the world is substantially attributable to a considerable increase in deaths, the result of a high presence of religious in old age.

Even for women religious there is a profound difference on the various continents: Africa, in the period 2010-2016, recorded the greatest increase (+9.2 percent), followed by Southeast Asia (+4.2 per one hundred). North America, on the other hand, has a negative record, with a contraction of almost 21 percent. Europe follows (with more than -16 per cent) and South America (-11.8 per cent), while the decrease recorded in Central-Central America and the Middle East is smaller. Finally, the situation in Central-Antilles America is substantially stationary, with a reduction of around 2 percent.

The decline in priestly vocations also continues. The number of seminarians decreased from 116,843 in 2015 to 116,160 in 2016 (683 units less, or 0.6%); the vocation rate (seminarians for 100,000 Catholics) dropped from 9.09 to 8.94.

In Asia, there is more positive data of 779 seminarians for the period. The Philippines and the Republic of Korea show a decline in vocations, with a negative balance of 1.1 percent for seminarians for the former and -30.2 percent for the latter, while Vietnam is constantly increasing and the balance is +48.3 percent. A slight increase was also registered in Indonesia, where vocations grew by 2 percent.

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