World Catholic Population Goes Over a Billion
Thanks to Africa!
From Catholic News.com:
The number of baptized Catholics "has increased worldwide from 757 million in 1978 to 1.06 billion in 2001", according to the new Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook).
The Yearbook points out that there is wide geographical variation in the change, contrasting a 148% increase in Africa the 25 year period with stagnation in Europe.
The Yearbook, which was launched on Friday by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, also indicates the increase in Catholics is accompanied by a decrease in the number of priests. In, 2001, the number of priests declined by 111 compared to the previous year. However the number of seminarians increased 1.5% in the same period, which Africa and Asia making a disproportionately large contribution.
Figures also reveal a sharp rise in the number of permanent deacons (4.9%), members of secular institutes (2.7%), laic missionaries (10.1%), and catechists (6.5%).