Hall of Fame Member
- Jan 28, 2007
RC church is booming.The new Pope is on the ropes of a shrinking church population because of the priests indiscretions.
Total church membership (both lay and clerical) in 2007 was 1.147 billion people, having increased from 437 million in 1950 and 654 million in 1970. On 31 December 2011, membership was 1.196 billion, an increase of 11.54% over the same date in 2000, which was only slightly greater than the rate of increase of the world population (10.77%). The increase was 33.02% in Africa, but only 1.17% in Europe. It was 15.91% in Asia, 11.39% in Oceania and 10.93% in the Americas. As a result, Catholics were 17.77% of the total population in Africa, 63.10% in the Americas, 3.05% in Asia, 39.97% in Europe, 26.21% in Oceania and 17.09% of the world population.
Of the world's Catholics, the proportion living in Africa grew from 12.44% in 2000 to 14.84% in 2008, while those living in Europe declined from 26.81% to 24.31%. Membership in the Catholic Church is attained through baptism or reception into the Church (for individuals previously baptised in non-Catholic Christian churches). For some years until 2009, if someone formally left the Church, that fact was noted in the register of the person's baptism.
In 2007, Vatican records listed 408,024 Catholic priests in the world, 762 more than at the beginning of the year. The main growth areas have been Asia and Africa, with 21.1% and 27.6% growth respectively. In North and South America, numbers have remained approximately the same, while there was a 6.8% decline in Europe and a 5.5% decrease in Oceania from 2000 to 2007.
Since the early 2000s the number of practicing Catholics have been reported to be declining in millions throughout the world.