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Global Catholic population increases by 12.5 million 

The number of Catholics in the world increased by 12.5 million in 2015 to a total of nearly 1.3 billion people.

Figures reported by the Fides News Service show an increase on all continents, except Europe. Africa saw 7.4 million new Catholics, North and South America 4.8 million, Asia 1.6 million and Oceania 123,000. Europe’s Catholic population decreased by 1.3 million.

Despite the rise, the world percentage of Catholics decreased by 0.05 per cent to 17.72 per cent, due to the total world population growing at an even faster rate.

Oceania had the highest percentage increase at 0.24 per cent, however the percentage of people in North and South America identifying as Catholic decreased by 0.08 per cent despite a rise in the total number. The percentage of Europeans identifying as Catholic decreased by 0.21 per cent.

The data was released by the Pontifical Mission Societies in the run up to World Mission Day on Sunday 22 October.

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5 Responses to Global Catholic population increases by 12.5 million

  1. A. S. Mathew

    Dear Sri. George Nedumparmbil: I do agree with you 100% that the Church has gone astray from the commission of JESUS CHRIST exhorted HIS disciples just before the ascension. The disciples after filled with the holy spirit, went to Africa-Asia and Europe; thus Churches were established even in the first century itself. They had no traditions to preach, but performed miracles of healing, and the gospel of JESUS CHRIST transformed lives.

    While Paul was taken to Rome, the ship wreck close to Malta forced them to swim towards Malta. The local Chief official of the land was Publius, his father was sick and Paul’s prayer healed him. The Church in Malta was started, the same Church is the leading Church of Malta now.

    As you have stated, the Church has to get rid of too many man-made traditions,which are engraved in the hearts of the believers. Churches will have to go back to the first century Holy Spirit led Christian worship, we will watch instant miracle in the world. The believers will have to pray more, read the Bible more, share the gospel with other, share out material things with others; then GOD will pour out HIS blessings upon us. On the other hand, if the Church hierarchy is concentrated in the real estate expansion, then we can show the world some tangible creation, but fully lost the purpose.

  2. A. S. Mathew

    Mr. Paliakara: ” The word of GOD (the Holy Bible) is not given priority over the traditions of the Church”. Exactly correct.

    I did visit a few Kerala traditional Churches in the U.S., the young people are rare to find there but the first generation is getting old. The 2nd and 3rd Generations are totally fed up with the outdated traditions being repeated every Sunday with smoking functions in the Church hall. They are not spiritually nourished at all. How, traditions can spiritually nourish the souls? All the traditions are man-made; anything man-made can’t feed the hungry soul. It takes the living word of GOD to fill the hungry soul. Surprisingly, when I visited the American Churches, the Kerala young generations were very active in Church services. Got calls from my friends of the traditional Churches lamenting that their children are worshiping at the American praise and worship Churches; I told them to praise GOD because the children are worshiping in the spirit and truth, not in the worldly clubs and bars on Sunday.

  3. Paliakara

    I agree with George Nedumparambil. Catholic Church never takes any effort to see why the young people are not frequenting the church, especially in Europe. The church doesn’t try to attract the young people. Secondly, the Word of God (the Holy Bible) is not given priority over the traditions of the Church. This is the reason, why the retreat centres, like the Divine, Shalom, are attracting people even from other religions.

  4. A. S. Mathew

    The Church attendance in the European nations are declining, but the vacant seats are being filled by the refuges from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq as Christian converts in all the Christian denominations. GOD blessed those nations with prosperity, those nations were sending missionaries to Africa and Asia, now they are far away from calling upon GOD.

    Recently we see a renewed spirit of evangelism in the Catholic Church around the world. The Church is now focusing more on printing Bibles and distributing them as a part of evangelism. Mangalore, Karnataka is a key center of the Catholic Church in India; they are taking special initiative to print more Bibles for massive distribution which was a consoling news.

    Holy Father Pope Francis has drawn many to the door steps of the Catholic Church around the world as a true follower of JESUS CHRIST in his practical life of compassion, simplicity, charisma and the spirit of brotherly love towards all Christian denominations. It was a rare event, when he became the Pope, the leading Christian leaders from the U.S. of the non-Catholic denominations paid a visit to him. He did visit a Pentecostal Church in Rome to worship. He broke the artificial wall of separation in between the Catholic Church and Protestant Churches, then built one solid bridge-the steel bridge of love.

    Being the largest Christian denomination in the world, the Catholic Church has to take the strong leadership in evangelism along with the rest of the Christian denominations. Also, the Catholic Church has the greater responsibility to preserve the rights of the minority Christians suffering in many parts of the world, now strongly spreading in India.

    It is a great news to read that the Catholic Church membership is now 1.3 billion. Let that growth may get faster in the coming days is my earnest and humble prayer. Hearty congratulations.

    • George Nedumparambil

      Dear Mathew Sir,

      Glad to know that the Church is printing Bible and distributing it in India. In my humble opinion, it is too dangerous for Catholics to become Bible-literate. You know, as well as I do, that we both and the billion plus Catholics around the world came to be Christians as the 11 Apostles who inherited the faith after Jesus, (along with St. Paul with his unique calling), took to heart Jesus’ last instructions prior to his ascension into his Father’s home in Heaven. In Mathew we read Jesus saying “…and teach them to fulfil all that I have commanded you…” (Mathew 28 v 18-20). In Mark, we read “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation”.(Mark 16 v.15-16). Both Mathew and Mark are saying the same thing that the Christian faith is founded on the teachings of Jesus, not ignoring the wisdom of the Old Testament. Now, if we sit down and take an inventory of what is going on in Catholic Church by way of its beliefs and practices, we would end up with a list of aberrations so much so that the first thing that Jesus would do on his second coming would be to take the stick to beat the clergy and drive them out of the churches. The practices which can be termed as falsehood are so engraved into the mindset of followers that they would revolt if anyone tried changing and reforming the church to be Bible compliant. Sorry state of affairs indeed.

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