(ZENIT News – FIDES / Roma, 10.21.2023).- As every year, in view of World Mission Sunday, which this year celebrates its 97th anniversary on Sunday, October 22, 2023, Fides News Agency 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 December 31, 2021) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education. Finally, the picture of ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Dicastery for Evangelization is reported.
To December 31, 2021 the world population was 7.785.769.000, with an increase of 118.633.000 units compared to the previous year.
Population growth was registered, even this year, on every continent except for Europe.
Total number and percentage of Catholics in the world
On the same date, December 31, 2021, Catholics in the world numbered 1.375.852.000 units with an overall increase of 16.240.000 units compared to the previous year. The increase affects all continents, except Europe (-244.000). As in the past, increases were registered above all in Africa (+8.312.000) and in America (+6.629.000), followed by Asia (+1.488.000) and Oceania (+55.000).
The world percentage of Catholics decreased slightly (-0,06) compared to the previous year reaching 17,67%. The continents register slight variations.
Total number of bishops in the world
The total number of Bishops in the world decreased by 23 units, to 5,340. The number of diocesan bishops decreased (-1) and Religious Bishops (-22). Diocesan Bishops are 4,155, while that of Religious Bishops are 1,185.
Total number of Catholic priests in the world
The total number of priests in the world decreased to 407,872 (-2,347). The continent which registered a major decrease was again Europe (-3.632) as well as America (-963). Increases were registered in Africa (+1.518), in Asia (+719) and in Oceania (+11). Diocesan priests in the world decreased by 911 units, reaching a total of 279,610. Religious priests decreased by 1.436 units, to a total 128.262.
Total number of permanent deacons in the world
Permanent deacons in the world continue to increase, this year reaching 541 units, to 49.176. The highest increase was registered in all the continents: Africa (+59), America (+147), Asia (+58), Europe (+268) and in Oceania (+9).
Total number of men and women religious in the world
Religious non-priests decreased by 795 units, to 49,774. Decreases were registered in America (-311), in Europe (-599) and in Oceania (-115). Increases in Africa (+205), and in Asia (+25).
Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.588 units, to a total 608.958. Increases were registered, once again, in Africa (+2.275) and in Asia (+366), decrease in Europe (-7.804), America (-5.185) and Oceania (–240).
Total number of major and minor seminarians in the world
The number of Major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 1.960 units, reaching a total 109.895. Increases were registered only in Africa (+187), decreases in America (-744), Asia (-514), Europe (-888) and Oceania (-1). The total number of Minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year increased by 316 units to 95.714. Decreases were registered in America (-372), Asia (-1.216), Europe (-144) and in Oceania (-5) while an increases was registered in Africa (+2.053).
The numerical state of Catholic education in the world
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 74.368 kindergartens with 7.565.095 pupils; 100.939 primary schools with 34.699.835 pupils; 49.868 secondary schools with 19.485.023 pupils. The Church also cares 2.483.406 high school pupils and 3.925.325 university students.
The numerical status of Catholic hospitals and health care centers in the world
The health, charity and assistance institutions managed in the world by the Catholic Church include: 5,405 hospitals, 14,205 dispensaries, 567 leper hospitals, 15,276 homes for the elderly, chronically ill and handicapped, 9,703 orphanages, 10,567 nursery schools, 10,604 marriage counseling centers, 3,287 social rehabilitation centres and 35,529 other kinds of institutes.
Total number of dioceses under the authority of the Dicastery for Evangelization
The Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Dicastery for Evangelization are 1.121. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions entrusted to the Dicastery are in Africa (523) and in Asia (481), followed by America (71) and Oceania (46). (Agenzia Fides, 22/10/2023)