Statistics published by the Vatican showed a continuing decline in the number of followers of the Catholic Church in Europe, in contrast to an increase in their numbers in the rest of the continents.
As of December 31, 2019, the number of Catholics reached 1,344,403,000, or 15.41 million more than the previous year, according to figures compiled by the Information Service for Catholic Missionaries “Fides”.
Europe recorded a decline of 292,000 Catholics to reach a total of 285.6 million, while Africa recorded the largest increase (+8.3 million to 251.5 million), followed by the Americas (+5.4 million to 647.2 million) and Asia (+1, 9 million to 149.1 million) and Oceania (+118,000 to 10.9 million).
According to Fides, Catholics constitute 17.74% of the world’s population.
As for the number of priests, it reached 414,336 (+271 compared to 2018), but here also Europe recorded the largest decline (-2608 out of a total of 168,328), followed by the Americas (-690 to 121,693) and Oceania (-69 to 4600).
In contrast, the number of priests rose in Africa (+1,649 to 49,461) and Asia (+1989 to 70,254).
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