The volumes shows the various changes and statistics of the Catholic Church in the world today, starting from 2012 up until the election of Pope Francis. According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the volumes and showed an interest in the data contained in the volumes. The Holy Father also thanked those who contributed in compiling the two yearbooks.
Among the numbers and statistics contained in the book, 11 new episcopal Sees were erected, as well two personal ordinariates, one apostolic vicariate, and one apostolic prefecture.
The volumes also detail statistical information from the year 2011 on the presence of the Catholic Church in world. As of now, the number of Catholics worldwide has increased from 1,196 million in 2010 to 1, 214 million in 2011. A communique from the Holy See Press Office stated that number corresponds to a growth of 1.5%/
The volumes indicate an increase in the number of Catholics particulary in the continents of Africa and Asia. The Holy See Press Office stated that the number of Catholics with respect to the total population varies considerably between the continents.
“Their numbers have increased in Africa (by 4.3%), which has reported a 2.3% increase of its population between 2010 and 2011. In Asia, an increase in Catholics greater to an increase in the population was also recorded (of 2% compared to 1.2%). In the Americas and in Europe the increase in numbers of Catholics is equal to the population increase (.3%). In 2011, the total of baptised Catholics had a distribution of, by continent: the Americas (48.8%); Europe (23.5%); Africa (16%); Asia (10.9%); and Oceania (.8%).”
Also noted was the increase in the number of priests worldwide which is now 413,418. The report did state, however, that the growth in the number of priests has only been seen in Africa and Asia, while in the Americas “the situation is stationary” and Europe has seen a decrease of more than 9%.
The report also noted a strong increase of permanent deacons which reached 41,000 in 2011 compared to 29,000 in 2001. The “Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae” also noted that while there was an increase in non-ordained religious males, the number of women religious has decreased exponentially which is currently at 713,000 members compared to 792,000 in 2011.
The Holy See Press Office stated, however, that “candidates for the priesthood, diocesan and religious, have increased since 2001 (112,244) by 7.5%.”
“In 2011 there were 120,616 registered. The strongest increase in seminarians was in Africa (+30.9%), and Asia (+29.4%), while Europe and the Americas registered a decrease in their numbers of 21.7% and 1.9% respectively,” the communique concluded.