Rise in Number of Catholics, Priests & Seminarians

by Steve Ray on March 1, 2008

Vatican yearbook shows rise in Catholic population, number of priests

Vatican, Feb. 29, 2008 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican has unveiled the 2008 edition of the Church's statistical yearbook, showing a 1.4% rise in the world's Catholic population.

Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone presented a copy of the new Annuario Pontificio to Pope Benedict XVI (bionews) on February 29. The yearbook shows that the world's total Catholic population rose from 1.115 billioin to 1.131 billion between 2005 and 2006, the last year for which accurate figures are available.

The statistics also show modest increases in the number of priests (0.21%) and seminarians (an overall rise of 0.9%). There were 407,242 Catholic priests in the world at the close of 2006, and 115,480 seminarians.

The Annuario shows that during 2007 there were 8 new episcopal sees created, along with one apostolic prefecture, two metropolitan sees, and one apostolic vicariate. The year saw the appointment of 169 bishops.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brent Robbins March 1, 2008 at 11:10 AM


Not to be the “glass half empty” person, but these numbers are somewhat sad, considering that the population increase each year is greater than 1.4%. What these numbers tell us is that Catholicism is shrinking as a percentage of the population. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Timothy March 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM

>”Catholicism is shrinking as a percentage of the population”

And, this matters…why?

In the early days of the Catholic Church, the world population was also increasing faster than the Church. Look where the Church is now. The Church in America has grown from 5% before 1870 to 12% by WWII to 23% in 2008. Protestantism is in real decline worldwide.

If the numbers really bother you, then you might consider being the change you’d like to see. Print up some tracts and hit the streets or sell all you have and become a missionary. America is just 2 converts per Catholic of being a Catholic majority country.

God bless…


Brent Robbins March 5, 2008 at 11:28 PM

I think the real issue is getting the already Catholics to be truly Catholic. If we can get that to happen, then anything is possible.

Arnold Conrad March 21, 2008 at 7:55 PM

I believe that the world population increase is not above 1.4%. I read somewhere not too long ago that the world population is growing in the 80 million to 85 million range p.a. With a global population of approx. 6.6Bn, that comes to a growth rate of 1.3%.

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