March 19, 2012

The number of Catholics in the world and the number of deacons, priests and bishops all increased in 2010, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics.

At the end of 2010, the worldwide Catholic population reached 1.196 billion, an increase of 15 million or 1.3 percent, slightly outpacing the global population growth rate.

The Vatican said the number of priests went from 410,593 to 412,236, increasing everywhere except Europe.

The number of men in religious orders increased by 436 in 2010.

The number of women religious fell by more than 7,000, despite a two per cent increase in both Asia and Africa.