Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of World Mission Day, this year celebrated on Sunday, October 19, 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 2012) 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 2012 the world population was 7,023,377,000 with an increase of 90,067,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 51,473,000) and Africa (+ 26,664,000) followed by America (+ 8,639,000); Europe (+ 2,977,000) and Oceania (+ 314,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,228,621,000 units with an overall increase of 15.030.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially America (+ 6,509,000) and Africa (+4.920,000) followed by Asia (+ 2,403,000); Europe (+ 1,122,000) and Oceania (+ 76,000).
The world percentage of Catholics slightly decreased by 0.01 %, settling at 17.49%. By continent: increases were registered in America (+ 0.12) and Asia (+ 0.01) while decrease was shown in Europe (-0.01) and Oceania (- 0.02), unvaried in Africa.
Mission stations with a resident priest number 1,847 (65 more than in the previous year) and increases registered in America (+31), Asia (+51) and Oceania (+11). Decreases in Africa (-23) and Europe (-5). Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 658 units, to 130,795. Compared to the previous year, increase is registered in Africa (+1.152) and Asia (+433); whereas the number dropped in America (- 2,038); Europe (- 4) and Oceania (- 201).
The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 units, to 414,313. The only continent which registered a decrease was again Europe (- 1,375) America (- 90) and Oceania (-80), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 1,076); and Asia (+ 1,364).
An overall decrease in the number of women religious (- 10,677), today 702,529. An increase was registered in Africa (+ 727) and Asia (+ 2,167), decrease in America (– 4,288), Europe (- 9,051) and Oceania (- 232).
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 362,488 units, with an overall decrease of 19.234 units. Numbers increase in: Asia (+ 324) and Europe (+ 71). Numbers decrease in Africa (- 578), America (+ 18,794) and Oceania (-257).
Catechists in the world increased by 45,408 units to a total of 3,170,643. The only increase was in Asia (+ 61.913), but numbers dropped in: Africa (+ 7,254), America (- 4,090), Europe (- 4,341) and Oceania (- 820).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,188 kindergartens with 6,728,670 pupils; 95,246 primary schools with 32,299,669 pupils; 43,783 secondary schools with 18,869,237 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,381,337 high school pupils, and 3,103,072 university students.
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church are 115,352.
The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) to 8 October 2014 are 1,109. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (507) and in Asia (476). Followed by America (80) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/10/2014