Vatican City, Mar 12, 2012 / 11:25 am
The Catholic Church added 15 million new faithful in 2010 and the number of priests continued to steadily increase for the tenth straight year, according to the latest edition of the pontifical yearbook.
The Catholic population increased from 1.181 billion in 2009 to 1.196 billion in 2010, a growth of 1.3 percent. The percentage of baptized Catholics worldwide has remained steady at 17.5 percent.
Priests increased from 410,593 to 412,236. There were about 277,000 diocesan priests and 135,227 religious order priests. The growth trend has continued since the year 2000. The number of clergy increased by 1,695 in Asia and by 765 in Africa. Growth in the Americas and Oceania was only in the double-digits, while priest numbers fell by 905 in Europe.
The figures come from the 2012 edition of the Annuario Pontifico, known as the pontifical yearbook, and the “Annuarium Satisticum Ecclesiae.” These provide a statistical snapshot of the Church.