Vatican City: As every year, in view of World Mission Day, this year celebrated on Sunday, October 20, 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 2011) 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 2011 the world population was 6,933,310,000 with an increase of 84,760,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 46,690,000) and Africa (+ 23,932,000) followed by America (+ 11,311,000); Europe (+ 2,332,000) and Oceania (+ 495,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,213,591,000 units with an overall increase of 17.920.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially Africa (+ 8,047,000); America (+6.312,000) and Asia (+ 2,577,000); followed by Europe (+ 822,000) and Oceania (+ 162,000).
The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.04 %, settling at 17.50%. By continent: increases were registered in Africa (+ 0.35); Asia (+ 0.03) and Oceania (+0.1), while decrease was shown in America (- 0.09) and Europe (- 0.02).
Persons and Catholics per priest
This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 117 units, average 13,394. The distribution by continent: increase in America (+ 67); Europe (+ 39) and Oceania (+ 120); decrease in Africa (- 448); Asia (- 776).
The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 36 units, average 2,936. There are increases on every continent except Asia: Africa (+ 13); America (+ 36); Asia (- 15); Europe (+ 23); Oceania (+ 39).
Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations
The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions are 13 more than the previous year to 2,979 with new circumscriptions created in: Africa (+7); America (+1); Asia (+1); Europe (+1); Oceania (+1). Mission stations with a resident priest number 1,782 (275 less than in the previous year) and increases registered Africa (+191); in America (+228) and Europe (+41). Decreases in Asia (-734) and Oceania (-1). Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 2.229 units, to 131,453. Compared to the previous year, the only increase is registered in Asia (+508); whereas the number dropped in Africa (- 1,596); America (- 974); Europe (- 47) and Oceania (- 120).
The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 28 units, to 5,132. Overall Diocesan Bishops increase in numbers, while Religious Bishops decrease: Diocesan bishops number 3,906 (35 more than in the previous year); Religious Bishops number 1,226 (7 less). The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered on every continent: Africa (+ 5); America (+ 5); Asia (+ 11); Europe (+ 11); Oceania (+ 3). The number of religious Bishops increased in Africa (+2) and Oceania (+3); whereas the number dropped in America (-5); Asia (-6) and Europe (-1).
The total number of priests in the world increased by 1,182 units, to 413,418. The only continents which registered a decrease was again Europe (- 2,286) and Oceania (- 11), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 1,530); America (+ 407) and Asia (+ 1,542). Diocesan priests increased by 1,337 units, reaching a total of 278,346 with increases in Africa (+ 1,152); America (+ 564) and Asia (+ 817) and a drop in Europe (- 1,162) and Oceania (- 34). The number of Religious priests decreased by 155 units to a total 135,072. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa (+ 378); Asia (+ 725) and Oceania (+23), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 157) and Europe (- 1,124).
Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1,350 units to 40,914. The highest increase was registered again in America (+ 879) and in Europe (+ 368), followed by Asia (+ 43); Oceania (+ 40) and Africa (+ 20). Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 40,270, with an overall increase of 1.266 units. They increased on every continent: Africa (+ 11); America (+ 896); Asia (+ 14); Europe (+ 330) and Oceania (+ 15).
Religious permanent deacons number 644, increased by 84 units compared to the previous year, with increases in Africa (+ 9); Asia (+ 29); Europe (+ 38) and Oceania (+25), the only decrease in America (-17).
Men and women religious
The number of non-religious priests increased by 420 units to 55,085. Situation: increase in Africa (+ 28) and Asia (+ 1,089). Decrease was registered in America (- 398); Europe (-232) and Oceania (- 67). An overall decrease in the number of women religious (- 8,729), today 713,206, was registered by continent as follows: increase in Africa (+ 1,488) and Asia (+ 2,115), decrease in America (– 4,515), Europe (- 7,459) and Oceania (- 358).
Members of secular institutes, male and female
Members of male secular institutes number 713 with an overall decrease of 34 units. At a continental level there is an increase only in Asia (+10), decrease in Africa (- 9); America (-18) and Europe (-17); and Oceania unvaried.
The members of female secular institutes decreased again this year, by 1,489 units to a total of 24,564 members. The only increase in Africa (+ 32); a decrease in: America (- 32); Asia (- 116); Europe (- 1, 371) and Oceania (- 2).
Lay missionaries and catechists
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 381,722 units, with an overall increase of 46,220 units. Numbers increase in: Africa (+ 1.401); America (+ 35,479); Asia (+ 9.294).Europe (+ 51). The only decrease is in Oceania (- 5).
Catechists in the world decreased by 35,393 units to a total of 3,125,235. Numbers grew in Africa (+ 3,451) and Oceania (+303), but dropped in America (- 35,871); Asia (- 967) and Europe (- 2,309).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious also increased this year, they are globally 1,626 more candidates for priesthood, who have thus reached a total of 120.616. Increases, as occured in previous years, in Africa (+ 559) and Asia (+ 1,326) and this year even in Oceania (+ 15); while even this year a decrease in America (- 6); and Europe (-268).
Major diocesan seminarians number 72,277 (+303 more than the previous year) and Religious major seminarians 48,339 (+1,323). Diocesan seminarians increased in Africa (+ 289); Asia (+295) and Oceania (+34), decreases are in Europe (-241) and America (- 74).
Religious Seminarians increased in Africa (+ 270); America (+68) and Asia (+1,031), while they decreased in Europe (+27) and Oceania (-19).
The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious increased by 222 units to 102,530. Overall increase in Africa (+ 1,106) and Oceania (+ 4) and decreased in America (-124); Asia (- 246) and Europe (-518).
Minor diocesan seminarians number 79,350 (+ 1,343), whereas religious seminarians number 23,180 (- 1,121). The number of diocesan minor seminarians has decreased in Asia (- 41); Europe (- 161), and Oceania (- 1), but have increased in Africa (+ 1,304) and America (+242). Religious minor seminarians increased in number only in Oceania (+ 5) and decreased in Africa (- 198); America (- 366); Asia (- 205), and Europe (- 357).
Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,482 kindergartens with 6,720,545 pupils; 94,411 primary schools with 31,939,415 pupils; 43,777 secondary schools with 18,952,976 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,494,111 high school pupils, and 3,039,684 university students. Compared to the previous year there has been an increase concerning kindergartens (+938) and concerning pupils (+ 241,918); primary schools (+ 1,564) and pupils (+788.245); increase in secondary schools (+186) and pupils (+ 1,159,417); there is also an increase in secondary school pupils (+189,940) and a decrease concerning university students (- 298,771).
Catholic charity and healthcare centres
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church are 117,119 and include: 5,435 hospitals (+ 130 more than the previous year) most of them in America (1,701) and Africa (1,284); 17,524 dispensaries (- 655) mainly in Africa (5,398); America (5,211) and Asia (3,828); 567 Care Homes for people with Leprosy (+20) mainly in Asia (281) and Africa (211); 15,784 (- 1,439) Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,271) and America (3,913); 10,534 orphanages (+ 652), about one third in Asia (3,911); 11,592 creches; 15,008 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,230) and Europe (5,819); 40,671 social rehabilitation centres and 4 other kinds of institutions.
Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) to 14 October 2013 are 1,108 with an increase of 5 circumscriptions compared to the previous year (4 dioceses in Africa and 1 Apostolic Vicariate in America). Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (506) and in Asia (476). Followed by America (80) and Oceania (46).
Source: Agenzia Fides