Skip to comments.The Church That the New Pope Will Govern (some surprising stats)
Posted on 03/11/2013 6:02:15 AM PDT by NYer
>It will be a Church with two thirds of the faithful in the southern hemisphere. With more Catholics in Manila than in Holland. With the West in a decline of faith. And with the United States at the center of the new geography.
ROME, March 11, 2013 – The pope whom the cardinals are preparing to elect will guide a Church that over the past century has experienced the most impetuous numeric growth of its history, and at the same time a very strong change in its geographic dislocation. With the United States as the focal point of the shift.
Catholics were and remain one sixth of the global population. They were and remain half of all Christians. But in absolute numbers they have quadrupled. In 1910 they were 291 million. In 2010 1.1 billion.
What is most arresting, however, is the geographical revolution. This has been presented by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent survey:
> The Global Catholic Population
A century ago, 70 percent of Catholics lived in Europe and North America. Today just 32 percent, less than one third of the total.
More than two thirds of Catholics today therefore live in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia and Oceania.
In Latin America, they have grown in one century from 70 million to 425 million.
In Asia and Oceania from 14 million to 131 million.
The most astonishing increase has been in sub-Saharan Africa. Catholics were just 1 million in 1910. A hundred years later 171 million. In one century they have gone from less than one percent to 16 percent of the population.
The ranking of the countries with the largest number of Catholics has also been revolutionized.
In 1910 the leaders of the pack were France and Italy, with 40 and 35 million Catholics respectively. Brazil followed with 21 million. There were more Catholics in Germany than in Mexico: 16 million versus 14 million.
In 2010 Brazil jumped into the lead with 126 million Catholics, followed by Mexico with 96 million and the Philippines with 75 million. And for the first time one of the top ten was an African country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 31 million Catholics.
Among the countries of Europe and North America, only the United States has seen over the past century a clear percentage increase of Catholics in the overall population. They were 14% in 1910, now they are 24%. In absolute numbers, with 75 million Catholics, the United States today is tied with the Philippines for third place in the general ranking.
In various countries of ancient Christian tradition, including those high in the rankings, Catholics no longer make up almost the whole of the population, as was the case a century ago. For example, in Brazil in 1910 Catholics were 95 percent of the population. Today 65 percent. This reduction has taken place above all in recent decades.
In the United States as well, where changing from one religion to another is very common, Catholics have undergone an erosion over the past century. Those who have left the Church turn out to be more numerous than those who have entered.
In compensation, however, a great number of immigrants to the United States, especially from Latin America, have come to increase the overall presence of Catholics. “Latinos” are today almost one third of Catholics in the United States and half of those under the age of 40.
The United States is in short a focal point of the new dislocation of Catholics in the world.
The cardinals who will enter into conclave tomorrow are aware of this. In the new century - if not already - an “American” pope will no longer be a surprise.
It may seem astonishing that such a strong expansion of the Catholic Church should have taken place in a century like the twentieth, marked by anti-Christian persecutions and invaded by the secularist onslaught.
But this paradox is not new. In the nineteenth century as well, the Catholic Church experienced formidable growth in mission territory, precisely while in Europe it was harshly opposed by the liberal and anti-clerical revolutions.
Gianpaolo Romanato, a professor of Church history at the University of Padua, has incisively analyzed this apparent contradiction.
And he has given a very compelling explanation of it, as summarized in this article from www.chiesa:
> The Pope's Favorite Film: "Mission"
The growth of the global south Church I have been talking about for a long time. We may having a new Pope from that part of the world.
We could very well be seeing missionaries from the global south heading west to bring the good news of the Gospel.
The pastor of our parish is a missionary who arrived from Lebanon about 3 years ago. He said the United States is now "mission territory", IOW, we are so desperately in need of priests that they are now coming here to serve.
Know God, no fear. No God, know fear.
And we are calling them back. People who are searching for the truth WILL come back!
In our diocese we already have priests from India and Africa.
Saw very, very briefly an ad from the “Coming Home Network” . My archdiocese on the Mondays during Lent, there is confession time being offered from 6-7PM as well.
Hopefully the next Pope will spend decades “auditing” the church against heterodoxy and heresy.
First it must be discerned where error lies, and whether that error is innocent, and needing instruction, or more harmful, and carried out with ill intent.
Likewise error must be discerned as arising from within, or without the church. As such external forces do exist, as physical, moral and spiritual threats, the clergy and laity need to be made aware of them, lest they fall into their machinations.
Geeze, maybe you could get my sister to go. Last time I was there for Thanksgiving, I went to Mass and back to her kitchen. she said, “msgr went on and on, right?”. I couldv’e said, yeah, what’s Oprah going on about this morning, but i chose kindness and said, “there was another priest there, so I was able go to confession”
Her chin dropped. Said she hadn’t been in thirty years. What did I know? Around here, that’s normal conversation.
But what are these people thinking? Our family’s faith goes back to St. Patrick. They think they can make up a new Church with whatever works. They have more money than anyone I ever knew, but they are still intrigued and frightened by Catholicism.
>> It will be a Church with two thirds of the faithful in the southern hemisphere. <<
Overstated. What he means is in the southern world (i.e., Latin America, Africa, South Asia, Oceania.) Much of the “southern world,” however, is north of the equator, including most of Africa, three out of four of the most populous nations of Latin America (and part of the fourth), and South Asia, including the Philippines.
Good points on geography!
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Wow, when I read that your family’s faith went back to the time of St. Patrick, your family has a large family tree in that regards.
Our formation came from our grandmother, in many ways, in addition to school, home, etc.
She got her faith from her grandmother, who grew up in Ireland, and was born there in 1860. she got her formation from her grandparents in the same way.
In Ireland, they didn’t have a lot of ecumenism, nor did hey in the Bronx, to where they went. They were unquestioningly Catholic, as were the other faiths. Anything resembling heresy or schism was in the form of the men going to the pub instead of Mass.
I wasn’t there, so I don’t know, but that is the traditional understanding, loosely interpreted, and it’s where I get my logic in saying our faith goes back to St. Patrick.