Asia has fastest-growing Catholic population

Catholicism in Asia is growing faster than in any other region of the world, according to new data released by the Vatican. The global population of Catholics in 2010 stood at just under 1.2 billion, or roughly 17.5 percent. Catholics from Southeast Asia comprised 10.8 percent of that total, up from 10.4 percent the previous year, according to the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae, a yearbook published by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. The second-fastest growing population was in Africa, which accounted for 15.6 percent of the total Catholic population, up from 15.2 percent the previous year. Asia as a whole had 130 million Catholics in 2010, up from 126 million the previous year. The number of priests in Asia also increased, with the addition of 1,695 in 2010, 176 more than in 2009. In contrast, the number of priests in Europe during the same period fell by 905.
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