Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 94th anniversary on Sunday, October 18, 2020, 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 2018) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Please note that variations are indicated in brackets, increase (+) or decrease (-) compared to the previous year (2016), according to the comparison made by Fides News Service. Finally, the picture of ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is reported.
To 31 December 2018 the world population was 7.496.394.000, with an increase of 88.020.000 units compared to the previous year.
On the same date, December 2018, Catholics in the world numbered 1.328.993.000 units with an overall increase of 15.716.000 compared to the previous year. The increase affects all continents. The world percentage of Catholics remains unvaried, settling at 17,73%.
The total number of Bishops in the world decreased by 12 units, to 5.377. Diocesan Bishops increased (+6) and Religious Bishops decrease (-18).
The total number of priests in the world also decreased this year, to 414.065 (-517). The continent which registered a major decrease was again Europe (-2.675) as well as America (-104). Increases were registered in Africa (+1.391), Asia (+823) and Oceania (+48).
The number of non-religious priests decreased for the sixth consecutive year, by 594 units, to 50.941. A decrease was registered in Europe (-591), America (-290) and Oceania (-17). Increases in Africa (+217) and Asia (+87).
Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious, by 7.249 units, like the previous year, to a total 641.661. An increase, once again was registered, in Africa (+2.220) and in Asia (+1.218), decrease in Europe (-7.167), America (-3.253) and Oceania (–267).
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 376.188, with an overall increase of 20.388 units, in Europe (+128), America (+8.129), Asia (+12.433), decrease in Oceania (-12) and in Africa (-290).
Catechists in the world decreased by 43.697 units, to a total 3.076.624. Decreases were registered in America (-40.846), Europe (-9.418), Oceania (-321), increases were registered in Africa (+5.133) and in Asia (+1.755).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious, increased this year, they are globally 552 units, reaching a total of 115.880. Increases were registered in Africa (+964), in Asia (+354) and in Oceania (+52). Decrease in Europe (-696) and in America (-122).
The total number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decrease for the third consecutive year by 617 units to 100.164. Overall decrease on all continents except Asia (+340): in America (-529), Africa (-226), Europe (-169) and in Oceania (-33).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 73.164 kindergartens with 7.376.858 pupils; 103.146 primary schools with 35.011.999 pupils; 49.541 secondary schools with 19.307.298 pupils. The Church also cares 2.251.600 high school pupils, and 3.707.559 university students.
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5.192 hospitals, 15.481 dispensaries, 577 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, 15.423 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, 9.295 orphanages, 10.747 creches, 12.515 marriage counselling centres, 3.225 social rehabilitation centres and 31.091 other kinds of institutes.
The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) are 1.119. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions entrusted to Propaganda Fide are in Africa (516) and in Asia (484), followed by America (73) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 16/10/2020)