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Data confirms Catholic Church in Asia and Africa growing exponentially

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Credit: Rome Reports

New data from the church’s Central Statistical Office confirms that the Catholic Church in Asia and Africa continues to grow exponentially.

It remains stable in North and South America, and Europe is the continent that has grown the least.

The trends have been consistent over the past several decades and are reflected in recently-released 2022 figures.

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The number of people baptised worldwide increased by 14 million.

All continents experienced growth, with the greatest increase in Africa with 3 per cent, followed by Asia and the Americas. The number of baptised in Europe increased from 265 million to 273 million.

Despite the increase in the number of Catholics in the world, the number of priestly vocations has decreased, even in Asia. Only Africa has remained stable.

The trends have caused concern over the past decade, especially for Europe, which has seen the worst numbers with an 8 per cent decline. In North and South America, the decline is about 3 per cent.

The number of women religious has also decreased in recent years, from about 609,000 in 2021 to just over 599,000 in 2022.

Numbers vary by geographic area. In Oceania, North America and Europe, there has been a decline of more than 3 per cent.

Africa has the largest number of women religious. In one year, the number increased by about 1,400 from the previous year.

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