Vatican City, 16 April 2015 (VIS) – The Annuarium Pontificium 2015 and the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2013 have been issued this morning. The former reveals some new aspects of the life of the Church that have emerged between February 2014 and February 2015, and the latter illustrates the changes that took place in 2013.
The statistics referring to the year 2013, show the dynamics of the Catholic Church in the world's 2,989 ecclesiastical circumscriptions. It may be seen that in this period one diocese and two eparchies have been elevated to the level of metropolitan sees; three new episcopal sees, three eparchies and one archiepiscopal exarchate have been erected; one territorial prelature has been elevated to a diocese, and one apostolic prefecture to an apostolic vicariate.
Since 2005, the number of Catholics worldwide has increased from 1,115 million to 1,254 million, an increase of 139 million faithful. During the last two years, the presence of baptised Catholics in the world has increased from 17.3% to 17.7%.
There has been a 34% increase in Catholics in Africa, which has experienced a population increase of 1.9% between 2005 and 2013. The increase of Catholics in Asia (3.2% in 2013, compared to 2.9% in 2005) has been higher than that of population growth in Asia. In America Catholics continue to represent 63% of a growing population. In Europe, where the population is stagnant, there has been a slight increase in the number of baptised faithful in recent years. The percentage of baptised Catholics in Oceania remains stable although in a declining population.
From 2012 to 2013 the number of bishops has increased by 40 from 5,133 to 5,173. In North America and Oceania there has been a reduction of 6 and 5 bishops respectively, in contrast to an increase of 23 in the rest of the American continent, 5 in Africa, 14 in Asia and 9 in Europe.
The number of priests, diocesan and religious, increased from 414,313 in 2012 to 415,348 in 2013.
Candidates to the priesthood – diocesan and religious – dropped from 120,616 in 2011 to 118,251 in 2013 (-2%). An increase of 1.5% is recorded in Africa, compared to a decrease of 0.5% in Asia, 3.6% in Europe and 5.2% in North America.
The number of permanent deacons continues to grow well, passing from 33,391 in 2005 to 43,000 in 2013. They are present in North America and Europe in particular (96.7%), with the remaining 2.4% distributed between Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The number of professed religious other than priests has grown by 1%, from 54,708 in 2005 to 55,000 in 2013. They have increased in number in Africa by 6% and Asia by 30%, and decreased in America (2,8%), Europe (10.9%) and Oceania (2%). The significant reduction in women religious is affirmed: currently 693,575 compared to 760,529 in 2005: -18.3% in Europe, -17.1 % in Oceania, and -15.5 in America. However, an increase of 18% in Africa and 10% in Asia is recorded.