The 2016 Pontifical Yearbook, and data from the 2014 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae show that Catholics make up 17.8% of the world population. The baptized in Africa grew by 40%, Asia 20%, Americas 11%, but only 2% in Europe. Number of bishops and priests is up, but the latter after a steady growth until 2011 are beginning a slow decline, still in progress. Permanent deacons the strongest "evolving" group.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Worldwide the number of Catholics - in 2014, about 1,272 million – is growing at a faster rate (14.1%) than that of the world population during the same period (10.8 %). The Catholic presence, therefore, is up to 17.8% in 2014, from 17.3% in 2005.
There is also a greater number of bishops, priests and seminarians, while the number of religious is decreasing. Very positive data for the permanent deacons.
This is some of the data provided by the 2016 Pontifical the Yearbook and 2014 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae, we published these days, which show a very mixed picture of the impact of the various geographical areas on the overall data, with strong growth in Africa and Asia, decline in Europe and substantial stability in America.
Over a nine-year period, from 2005 to 2014, in fact, the baptized in Africa grew by 40%, Asia 20%, Americas 11%, but only 2% in Europe. Half the total of the world's Catholics continue to live in the Americas, while in 2014 the presence of the Church in Asia was around 11% and 16% in Oceania. Beyond the different demographic dynamics is the obvious confirmation of the increased importance of the African continent (whose baptized faithful rose from 13.8% to almost 17% of global data) and the net decline, however, in Europe, for which the percentage of the global total dropped from 25.2% in 2005 to 22.6 in 2014. Regarding in particular the Asian continent, the number of Catholics is "increasing moderately".
In the period examined, the number of bishops has increased globally by 8.2%, from 4,841 to 5,237 units. The increase was pronounced in Asia (+ 14.3%) and Africa (+ 12.9%), while in America (+ 6.9%), in Europe (+ 5.4%) and Oceania ( + 4.0%) values lie below the world average. The Asian continent shows the largest increase in total from 14.3 in 2005 to 15.1 percent in 2014.
As for the priests - both diocesan and religious - their number, over the years, has grown from 406,411 to 415,792. But after a steady growth until 2011, they have registered a slow decline in recent years, still in progress. In the period defections have been "shrinking", while deaths rising. This applies at the global level, as for the individual continents the dynamics are very different. In the face of significant increases for Africa (+ 32.6%) and Asia (+ 27.1%), Europe has experienced a decrease of more than 8% and Oceania -1.7%.
Data on candidates for the priesthood (diocesan and religious) are similar to those of the priests: rising until 2011 and then a "slow and steady decline." In absolute terms, the major seminarians are now 117,000, and their loss has affected all continents except Africa, where their number has increased by 4%. Even in relative terms to the number of Catholics, Africa and Asia are more dynamic, with 133 candidates for the priesthood for a million Catholics in Africa in 2014 and about 247 in Asia. European (66) and American (55), data is far less significant and a decrease compared to 2005, suggesting a potential for less coverage of pastoral needs and services. Of importance is the fact that out of 100 priests, Africa and Asia with 66 and 54 new candidates show a great capacity, while Europe recorded only 10 candidates out of 100 priests, America and Oceania 28 22 .
As to religious; professed nuns in 2014 were 683,000, professed religious who are not priests 54,000 and permanent deacons over 44,500. The latter category is the "strongest group in evolution": from 33,000 in 2005 to 45 thousand in 2014, with a relative change of + 33.5%. This increase is seen everywhere, but the pace of increase remains different among the various areas in continental Europe. However, their increase has been significant, passing in nine years from just under 11,000 to almost 15,000 units. Even in America the trend was sustained: in 2014 the number rose to almost 29,000, from about 22,000 in 2005. No significant major changes in spatial distribution of permanent deacons during the period examined: there is only a slight decrease in the relative number of deacons in America and an increase of that of Asia. "The dynamic trend highlighted by these operators - said the Yearbook - is certainly not due to temporary reasons and quotas but seems to express new and different choices in the execution of the spreading of the faith".
The figure on the pastoral load - that is, the number of Catholics per priest - finally, shows that globally, it has grown significantly and presents the highest in Africa and America, while in Europe it is much more limited. The situation, conceivably, will change in the coming years, since the European priestly clergy is the eldest and weakened by low renewal rates, while in Africa and Asia candidates for the priesthood are up sharply. AsiaNewsIT report - Image added from Google