Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, this year celebrated on Sunday, October 21, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2010) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year's figures, are marked increase + or decrease – in brackets
To 31 December 2010 the world population was 6,848,550,000 with an increase of 70,951,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 40,510,000) and Africa (+ 22,144,000) followed by America (+ 5,197,000); Europe (+ 2,438,000) and Oceania (+ 662,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,195,671,000 units with an overall increase of 15.006.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially Africa (+ 6,140,000); America (+3.986,000) and Asia (+ 3,801,000); followed by Europe (+ 894,000) and Oceania (+ 185,000).
The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.04 %, settling at 17.46%. By continent: increases were registered in Africa (+ 0.21); America (+ 0.07); Asia (+ 0.06); Oceania (+0.03), while decrease was shown in Europe (- 0.01)
Persons and Catholics per priest
This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 123 units, average 13,277. The distribution by continent: increase in Africa (+ 40); America (+ 40); Europe (+ 31) and Oceania (+ 57); decrease in Asia (- 730).
The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 24 units, average 2,900. There are increases on every continent except Asia: Africa (+ 64); America (+ 30); Asia (- 1); Europe (+ 11); Oceania (+ 17).
Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations
The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions increased by 10 more than the previous year to 5,104 with new circumscriptions created in: Africa (+4); America (+3); Europe (+2); Asia (+1). Mission stations with a resident priest number 2,057 (207 more than in the previous year) and increases registered in America (+26); Asia (391) and Europe (+8). Decreases in Africa (-204) and Oceania (-14). Mission Stations without a resident priest increased in number by 2.734 units, to 133,682. Increases were registered on every continent except Asia (-2.186); Africa (+ 747), Asia (+ 685); America (+4.109); Europe (+ 79) and Oceania (+47).
The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 39 units, to 5,104. Overall Diocesan Bishops increase in numbers, while Religious Bishops decrease: Diocesan bishops number 3,871 (43 more than in the previous year); Religious Bishops number 1,233 (4 less). The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered on every continent except Oceania: Oceania (- 4); Africa (+ 13); America (+ 22); Asia (+ 11); Europe (+ 1). The number of religious Bishops increased in Africa (+3); Asia (+1) and Oceania (+1); whereas the number dropped in America (-7) and Europe (-2).
The total number of priests in the world increased by 1,643 units, to 412,236. The only continents which registered a decrease was again Europe (-905), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 761); America (+ 40); Asia (+ 1.695) and Oceania (+ 52). Diocesan priests increased by 1,467 units, reaching a total of 277,009 with increases in Africa (+ 571); America (+ 502); Asia (+ 801) and Oceania (+ 53) and a drop in Europe (- 460). The number of Religious priests decreased by 176 units to a total 135,227. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa (+ 190) and Asia (+ 894), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 462); Europe (- 445) and Oceania (-1).
Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1,409 units to 39,564. The highest increase was registered again in America (+ 859) and in Europe (+ 496), followed by Asia (+ 58) and Oceania (+ 1), the only decrease this year was registered in Africa (- 5). Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 39,004, with an overall increase of 1.412 units. They increased on every continent except Africa (- 6) and Oceania (no variation), precisely: America (+ 863); Asia (+60); Europe (+ 495).
Religious permanent deacons number 560, decreased by 3 units compared to the previous year, with slight increases in Africa (+ 1); Europe (+ 1) and Oceania (+1), decreases in America (- 4) and Asia (-2).
Men and women religious
The number of non-religious priests increased by 436 units to 54,665. Situation: increase in Africa (+ 254); Asia (+ 411); Europe (+17) and Oceania (+15). The only decrease was registered in America (- 261). An overall decrease in the number of women religious (– 7,436), today 721,935, was registered by continent as follows: increase in Africa (+ 1,395) and Asia (+ 3,047), decrease in America (– 3,178), Europe (- 8,461) and Oceania (– 239).
Members of secular institutes, male and female
Members of male secular institutes number 747 with an overall increase of 10 units. At a continental level there is an increase in Africa (+3) and Europe (+17); decrease in America (-9) and Asia (-1), Oceania unvaried.
The members of female secular institutes decreased again this year, by 207 units to a total of 26,053 members. An increase in Africa (+ 14); Asia (+32) and Oceania (+5); a decrease in: America (- 84) and Europe (- 174).
Lay missionaries and catechists
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 335,502 units, with an overall increase of 15,276 units. Numbers increase in (- 50): Africa (+ 1.135); America (+ 14,655); Europe (+ 1.243) and Oceania (+62). The only decrease is in Asia (-1.819).
Catechists in the world increased by 9,551 units to a total of 3,160,628. Numbers grew in America (+ 43,619); Europe (+ 5,077) and Oceania (+393), but dropped in Africa (-29.405) and Asia (- 10.133).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious also increased this year, they are globally 1,012 more candidates for priesthood, who have thus reached a total of 118.990. Increases, as occured in previous years, in Africa (+ 752) and Asia (+ 513) and this year even in America (- 29), while even this year a decrease in Europe (- 282) and Oceania unvaried.
Major diocesan seminarians number 71,974 (+755 more than the previous year) and Religious major seminarians 47,016 (+257). Diocesan seminarians increased in Africa (+ 545); America (+ 136) and Asia (+538), decreases are in Europe (-442) and Oceania (-22)
Religious Seminarians increased in Africa (+ 207); Europe (+160) and Oceania (+22), while they decreased in America (-107) and Asia (-25).
The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased by 1.683 units to 102,308. Overall increase in Africa (+213) and Asia (+400) and decreased in America(-1.033); Europe (-1.206) and Oceania (-57).
Minor diocesan seminarians number 78,007 (-1.135), whereas religious seminarians number 24,301 (- 548). The number of diocesan minor seminarians has decreased in America (- 704); Europe (- 855), and Oceania (- 67), but have increased in Africa (+ 75) and Asia (+ 416). Religious minor seminarians decreased in number in America (- 329); Asia (- 16), and Europe (- 351) and are increasing in Africa (+ 138) and Oceania (+ 10).
Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 70,544 kindergartens with 6,478,627 pupils; 92,847 primary schools with 31,151,170 pupils; 43,591 secondary schools with 17,793,559 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,304,171 high school pupils, and 3,338,455 university students. Compared to the previous year there has been a slight increase concerning kindergartens (+2.425) and a decrease concerning pupils (-43.693); a slight decrease in primary schools (-124 and an increase in pupils (+178.056); increase in secondary schools (+1.096) and pupils (+678.822); there is also an increase in secondary school pupils (+15.913) and university students (+63.015) who are monitored.
Catholic charity and healthcare centres
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5,305 hospitals most of them in America (1,694) and Africa (1,150); 18,179 dispensaries mainly in America (5,762); Africa (5,312) and Asia (3,884); 547 Care Homes for people with Leprosy mainly in Asia (285) and Africa (198); 17,223 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,021) and America (5,650); 9,882 orphanages, about one third in Asia (3,606); 11,379 creches; 15,327 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,472); 34,331 social rehabilitation centres and 9,391 other kinds of institutions, mostly located in America (3,564) and Europe (3,159).
Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) are 1.103. Mainly in Africa (502) and in Asia (476). Followed by America (79) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2012)