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shrike3

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Member since: Sun Aug 30, 2020, 07:27 AM
Number of posts: 1,876

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In new Catholic numbers, an 'imponderable' movement shaping history

https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2022/02/in-new-catholic-numbers-an-imponderable-movement-shaping-history

For one thing, the Annuario notes that Catholicism added 16 million new members in 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available. Granted, that meant the church did no more than keep pace with overall global population growth, but it’s still significant at a time when most western perceptions are that the church is shrinking due to the fallout from the sexual abuse crisis, various scandals at senior levels, bitter political infighting, increasing irrelevance to younger generations, and any number of other alleged failures.

snip

Consider that 16 million is more than the entire Catholic population of Canada, and the church added that number of new followers in one year alone, Today, Catholics represent a robust 17.7 percent of everyone on earth.

Second, it’s notable that the vast majority of this growth is outside the western sphere. The Catholic population grew in Africa and Asia in 2020, by 2.1 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The share of the world’s Catholics who live in Africa has been climbing steadily over recent decades. Africa alone shot up from 1.9 million in 1900 to 130 million in 2000 and an estimated 236 million today, representing almost twenty percent of the global total.

Catholicism, in other words, is already a non-western religion, at least at the grassroots, and it will be increasingly more so as time wears on. By the middle of this century, three-quarters of every Catholic man, woman and child will live outside the west. Trying to understand the church exclusively through the prism of western preoccupations and priorities, therefore, is a fool’s errand, yet it continues to be how most of us in the press cover the church.

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