Written by Sherry
Thursday, 25 February 2010 07:55
More news of Catholic growth around the world. Via Zenit. (A reader pointed out that I'd gotten the original number wrong. It is 19 million, not 17 million. We are growing faster than I knew!)
A net gain (after deaths) of 19 million new Catholics in 2008 bringing the global total to 1,166,000. That is a growth of 1.7% which is slightly ahead of the world's population growth rate.
Catholics make up 17.4% of the human race. The number of Catholics grew fastest in Africa (up 1.83%) and the Americas ( 1.57%) with Europe in last place (0.7%)
The overall number of priests continues to grow slowly. There were 409,166 Catholic priests in 2008. There was also a 1% growth in seminarians in 2008. Africa seminarian numbers were up 3.6%, Asia up 4.4% and Oceania up 6.5% (which is particularly good news).
In Europe, however, there was a 4.3% drop and the numbers in America have remained more or less stable.
The number of religious women continues to grow dramatically in Africa (up 21.2% since 2000) and Asia (up 16.4%) but the hemorrhage in Europe and North America continues so there was a significant overall loss in numbers.
19 million additional Catholics in 2008. To give some perspective, that's considerably larger than the number of Southern Baptists in the US (16 million) - the second largest communion in the country.
So every year, Catholics are adding an entire Southern Baptist Convention and then some to our numbers. Never, in 2,000 years, has a Christian group dealt with such numbers.
Instead of getting stuck on what happened in the west two generations ago, we need to be figuring out how to evangelize, form, and care for the staggering numbers coming our way today.
The duty of the present moment is the call of God.