This Feature is Published Courtesy of Agenzia Fides:
As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates it 90th anniversary on Sunday, October 23, 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 2014) 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 2014 the world population was 7.160.739.000 with an increase of 66.941.000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above, except Europe: increases were registered above all in Asia (+ 37.349.000) and Africa (+ 23.000.000) followed by America (+ 8.657.000) and Oceania (+ 649.000). Decrease in Europe (- 2.714.000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,272,281,000 units with an overall increase of 18.355.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents, except Europe. Increases were registered above all in Africa (+8.535.000) and in America (+ 6.642.000) followed by Asia (+ 3.027.000), and Oceania (+ 208.000). Decrease in Europe (- 57.000).
The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.09 %, settling at 17.77%. By continent: increases were registered in Africa (+ 0.38), America (+ 0.12), Asia (+ 0.05), Europe (+ 0.14). and Oceania (+ 0.09).
Persons and Catholics per priest
This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 130 units, average 13,882. The distribution by continent: increase in America (+ 79); Europe (+ 41) and Oceania (+ 289); decrease in Africa (- 125); Asia (- 1.100).
The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 41 units, average 3.060. There are increases in Africa (+ 73), America (+ 59); Europe (+ 22) and Oceania (+ 83); decrease in Asia (-27).
Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations
The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions are 9 more than the previous year to 2,998 with new circumscriptions created in: Africa (+1), America (+3), Asia (+3), Europe (+2). Oceania unvaried.
Mission stations with a resident priest number 1,864 (7 less than in the previous year) and increases registered in Africa (+39) and Europe (+ 2). Decreases in America (- 35), Asia (- 8) and Oceania (- 5).
Mission Stations without a resident priest increased in number by 2.703 units, to 136.572. Compared to the previous year, increase is registered in Africa (+1.151), America (+ 2.891), and Oceania (+ 115). The number dropped in Asia (- 1.452) and Europe (- 2).
The total number of Bishops in the world increased by 64 units, to 5,237. Contrary to previous years where Diocesan Bishops increased in numbers, while Religious Bishops decreased, this year they both increased. Diocesan Bishops number 3,992 (47 more), while Religious Bishops number 1,245 (17 more). The increase in diocesan Bishops is registered in all continents except Oceania (-1): in America (+ 20); Asia (+ 9), Africa (+1) and Europe (+ 18). The number of religious Bishops increased on every continent: Africa (+5), America (+2), Asia (+3), Europe (+6), Oceania (+1).
The total number of priests in the world increased by 444 units, to 415.792. The only continents which registered a decrease was again Europe (- 2.564) and a slight decrease in America (-123) and Oceania (- 86), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 1.089) and Asia (+2.128). Diocesan priests increased by 765 units, reaching a total of 281.297 with increases in Africa (+ 1.023); America (+ 810) and Asia (+ 848). A drop in Europe (- 1.914) and Oceania (- 2). The number of Religious priests decreased by 321 units to a total 134.495. Increases were registered as in recent years in Africa (+ 66) and Asia (+ 1.280), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 933), Europe (- 650) and Oceania (- 84).
Permanent deacons in the world increased by 1,371 units to 44.566. The highest increase was registered again in America (+ 965) and in Europe (+ 311) and an increase in Africa (+ 25), Asia (+65) and Oceania (+5).
Permanent Diocesan deacons in the world are 43.954, with an overall increase of 1.304 units. They increased on every continent: Africa (+8), America (+ 971), Asia (+36), Europe (+ 285) and Oceania (+ 4).
Religious permanent deacons number 612, increased by 67 units compared to the previous year, with increases in Africa (+17), Asia (+ 29), Europe (+ 26) and Oceania (+1). The only decrease was registered in America (- 6).
Men and women religious
The number of non-religious priests decreased by 694 units to 54.559. Situation: increase in Africa (+ 331) and Asia (+ 66), while a decrease was registered in America (- 362), Europe (- 653) and Oceania (- 76).
Even this year there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious by 10.846 units to 682.729. An increase was registered in Africa (+ 725) and Asia (+ 604), decrease in America (– 4.242), Europe (- 7.733) and Oceania (- 200).
Members of secular institutes, male and female
Members of male secular institutes number 654 with an overall decrease of 58 units. At a continental level there is an increase only in Africa (+ 2) while a decrease was registered in America (- 13), Asia (- 16), Europe (-31), Oceania unvaried.
The members of female secular institutes increased this year, by 243 units to a total of 24.198 members. Increase in Asia (+ 44) and Europe (+ 515) while a decrease was registered in Africa (- 7), America (- 306) and Oceania (- 3).
Lay missionaries and catechists
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 368.520 units, with an overall increase of 841 units. Numbers increase in Africa (+9), Europe (+ 6.806) and Oceania (+ 41). Decrease was registered in America (- 5.596) and Asia (- 419)
Catechists in the world increased by 107.200 units to a total of 3.264.768. A significant increase was registered in Africa (+ 103.084), Asia (+ 6.862) and a slight increase in Oceania (+ 271). Decrease in America (- 2.814) and Europe (- 203).
The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious decreased this year, they are globally 1.312 units, reaching a total of 116.939. Increases occured only in Africa (+ 636), while even this year a decrease in America (- 676), Asia (- 635), Europe (-629) and Oceania (-8).
Major diocesan seminarians number 70.301 (- 1.236 less than the previous year) and Religious major seminarians 46.638 (- 76). Diocesan seminarians increased only in Africa (+ 222), while decreases are in America (- 595), Asia (- 373), Europe (-471) and Oceania (- 20).
Religious Seminarians decreased in three continents: America (- 82), Asia (- 262) and Europe (- 158). Increases in Africa (+ 414) and Oceania (+ 12).
The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious increased by 1.014 units to 102.942. Overall increase on all continents, except Oceania (- 42): Africa (+ 487), America (+ 1), Asia (+ 174) and Europe (+ 394).
Minor diocesan seminarians number 78.489 (- 67), whereas religious seminarians number 24.453 (+ 1.081). The number of diocesan minor seminarians decreased in America (- 47), Asia (- 668) and Oceania (- 37). Increases in Africa (+ 291) and Europe (+ 394).
Religious minor seminarians increased in number in Africa (+ 196), America (+ 48) and Asia (+ 842) and decreased in Oceania (- 5) and unvaried in Europe.
Catholic schools and Education
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 73.580 kindergartens with 7.043.634 pupils; 96.283 primary schools with 33.516.860 pupils; 46.339 secondary schools with 19.760.924 pupils. The Church also cares for 2.477.636 high school pupils, and 2.719.643 university students.
Catholic charity and healthcare centres
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5.158 hospitals, most of them in America (1.501) and Africa (1.221); 16.523 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (5.230); America (4.667) and Asia (3.584); 612 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, mainly in Asia (313) and Africa (174); 15.679 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, mainly in Europe (8.304) and America (3.726); 9.492 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3.859); 12.637 creches, mainly in Asia (3.422) and America (3.477); 14.576 marriage counselling centres, mainly in America (5.634) and Europe (5.670); 3.782 social rehabilitation centres and 37.601 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 4 October 2016 are 1.108 with an decrease of 3 circumscriptions compared to last year. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (508) and in Asia (480). Followed by America (74) and Oceania (46).
Special feature prepared by S.L. Agenzia Fides 10/23/2016