On Monday, May 13, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., and Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father with the 2013 edition of the “Annuario Pontificio” (Pontifical Yearbook, the Holy See’s annual directory), in the presence of the officials responsible for compiling and printing the volumes. The “Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae” (the Church’s Statistical Yearbook), which the same discastery is also responsible for, was also presented.
A reading of the information given shows some changes relative to the life of the Catholic Church in the world from 2012 to the election of Pope Francis.
In that period, it is noteworthy that there were erected: 11 new episcopal Sees; two personal ordinariates; one apostolic vicariate; and one apostolic prefecture. Also, one territorial prelature was elevated to the rank of diocese and two apostolic exarchates were elevated to the rank of eparchies.
The statistical information, which refers to the year 2011, reveals details about the Catholic Church in the 2,979 ecclesiastical circumscriptions around the planet. The number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.196 million in 2010 to 1.214 million in 2011, an increase of eighteen million faithful, corresponding to a growth of 1.5%. Over the last three years the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has remained stable at around 17.5%.
The number of Catholics with respect to the total population varies considerably between the continents. Their numbers have increased in Africa (by 4.3%), which has reported a 2.3% increase of its population between 2010 and 2011. In Asia, an increase in Catholics greater to an increase in the population was also recorded (of 2% compared to 1.2%). In the Americas and in Europe the increase in numbers of Catholics is equal to the population increase (.3%). In 2011, the total of baptised Catholics had a distribution of, by continent: the Americas (48.8%); Europe (23.5%); Africa (16%); Asia (10.9%); and Oceania (.8%).
From 2010 to 2011, the number of bishops increased from 5,104 to 5,132, a relative increase of .55%. The increase mainly involved Oceania (+4.6%) and Africa (+1%) while Asia and Europe are slightly below the world average and no variation is seen in the Americas.
The steady increase in the number of priests which began in the year 2000 has continued. On 31 December 2011, their numbers stood at 413,418 compared to last year’s 412,236. Nevertheless, this was not homogeneous growth. In Africa and Asia the increase was, respectively, +39.5% and +32% (with an increase of more than 3,000 in 2011 alone). In the Americas the situation is stationary (122,000 priests) while, over the last decade, Europe has seen a decrease of more than 9%.
The number of permanent deacons registered a strong increase: from 29,000 in 2001 to 41,000 in 2011. Those present in North America and Europe count for 97.4% of the total.
The number of non-ordained male religious increased, slightly surpassing 55,000. Their numbers are increasing in Africa and Asia (+18.5% and +44.9% respectively) and decreasing in the Americas (-3.6%), in Europe (-18%), and in Oceania (-21.9%).
The is a strong decrease in the number of female religious, which currently registers 713,000 members in contrast to 792,000 in 2001. There are fewer female religious in Europe (-22%), Oceania (-21%), and the Americas (-17%). Nevertheless there is significant growth in their numbers in Africa (+28%) and in Asia (18%).
Candidates for the priesthood, diocesan and religious, have increased since 2001 (112,244) by 7.5%. In 2011 there were 120,616 registered. The strongest increase in seminarians was in Africa (+30.9%), and Asia (+29.4%), while Europe and the Americas registered a decrease in their numbers of 21.7% and 1.9% respectively.