Complete News World

The Catholic Church is growing to 1.39 billion people worldwide

The Catholic Church is growing to 1.39 billion people worldwide

Vatican City, April 5, 2024 (KAP) The number of Catholics worldwide rose to 1.39 billion in 2022. This represents a one percent increase compared to 2021, according to new annual church statistics now published by the Vatican. The number of members increased mainly in Africa: it rose by three percent to 273 million people. This means that in 2022, about one in five Catholics came from Africa. In Europe, the number remained the same at 286 million. There was an increase of 0.9 and 0.6 percent in America and Asia, respectively.

In contrast to the increasing number of Catholics, the number of priests continued to decline slightly. It fell 0.03 percent to 407,730. This continued a slight downward trend since 2012. The total includes both diocesan priests and religious. The decline was greater, of 1.7%, in Europe, where there is still the largest number of priests in absolute terms. In Africa, the number of priests increased by 3.2%, and in Asia by 1.6%. In North and Latin America, there were almost as many priests in ministry in 2022 as in 2021.

Theological seminaries reported a global decline: in 2022, 108,481 men were trained there to become priests. That was 1.3 percent lower than in 2021. Once again, Europe was far behind at minus six percent. In Africa, the number rose to 34,541. This made Africa the continent with the largest number of candidates for the priesthood: approximately one in three people worldwide attended a theological school in Africa.

The number of religious women fell further in 2022: by 1.6 percent to 599,228. Again there were differences between Africa, which has 1.7% more religious women, and Europe, where 3.5% fewer women live according to religious covenants. There were also declines in South and Central America (minus 2.5 percent), North America (minus 3.0 percent), and Oceania (minus 3.6 percent). In Southeast Asia, the number of religious women increased slightly by 0.1 percent.

See also  The lion escaped: ban on circus predators in Italy

There were 49,414 religious brothers, that is, male members of religious orders without ordination, worldwide, 360 fewer than in the previous year. Here, too, it should be noted that the number has increased significantly in Asia, while there has been a decline in Europe, for example.

However, the number of permanent deacons continued to rise on all continents – by about two percent to 50,150 worldwide.

The 2022 Yearbook prepared by the Central Office of Church Statistics contains updated data on the Catholic Church worldwide. It is published by the Vatican Publishing House “LEV” and has been available in bookstores since Thursday.