Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sandro Magister

3/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Chiesa (chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it)

The cardinals who will enter into conclave Tuesday are aware of this. In the new century - if not already - an American pope will no longer be a surprise.

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

Empty chair of Peter

Empty chair of Peter

Highlights

By Sandro Magister

Chiesa (chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it)

3/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Catholic, Church, Conclave, new pope, election, papal election, American Pope, Sandro Magister


ROME, Italy (Chiesa) - 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 Tuesday are aware of this. In the new century - if not already - an "American" pope will no longer be a surprise.

---

Chiesa is a wonderful source on all things Catholic in Europe. It is skillfully edited by Sandro Magister. SANDRO MAGISTER was born on the feast of the Guardian Angels in 1943, in the town of Busto Arsizio in the archdiocese of Milan. The following day he was baptized into the Catholic Church. His wife’s name is Anna, and he has two daughters, Sara and Marta. He lives in Rome.



Comments


More Europe

Massive Viking treasure horde discovered HOW?!? Watch

Image of A 47-year-old British man uncovered one of the largest Viking artifact hordes ever discovered, which has over hundreds of artifacts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A British man has found the largest collection of Viking artifacts ever in Scotland, using-of all things--a metal detector. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Derek McLennan found the trove on land belonging to the Church of Scotland in the area of Dumfries and ... continue reading


Pope Francis Makes Another Impassioned Plea for Christian Unity Watch

Image of Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity. Let me tell you something, today, before leaving home, I spent 40 minutes more or less, half an hour, with an evangelical pastor. And we prayed together, seeking unity. But we Catholics must pray with each other and other Christians. Pray that the Lord gift us unity! Unity among ourselves! How will we ever have unity among Christians if we are not capable of having it among us Catholics, in the family, how many families fight and split up? Seek unity, unity builds the Church and comes from Jesus Christ. He sends us the Holy Spirit to build unity! - Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Dear friends, let us therefore proceed towards full unity! History has separated us, but we are on the path towards reconciliation and communion! And this is true! And we must defend it! We are all on the path toward communion. And when the goal seems too ... continue reading


'Titanic of the Ancient World' yielding priceless, new treasures Watch

Image of In their assessment of the ship's size, the team also brought up several new artifacts including tableware and an enormous bronze spear, pictured below, that's believed to have been part of a giant statue.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient Antikythera shipwreck, a Greek vessel that sank more than 2,000 years ago in the Aegean Sea has long captivated archaeologists. Since sponge divers discovered it in 1900, researchers have long referred to it in order to understand a foregone ... continue reading


Belgium strikes back against leaders of national Islamist group Watch

Image of Fouad Belkacem alias Abu Imran, the spokesman for the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group, and one of those put on trial.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Belgium has started its largest-ever terrorism trial in the port city of Antwerp. Here, 46 members of the Sharia4Belgium Islamist group are being charged with recruiting scores of young Muslims to fight for the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Catholic Church must use power to protect Christians against radical Islam, bishop says Watch

Image of The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian rights in his native land before coming to United Kingdom, says that the time is nigh for Rome to take a stand.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church must use its global power to protect Christians threatened by Islamic militancy and secularism. That was the message delivered by prominent Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. The Pakistan-born bishop, an outspoken defender of Christian ... continue reading


Ebola cases spreading through Europe deemed 'unavoidable' by health official Watch

Image of While European health workers were most at risk of becoming infected, but added that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the news of a Spanish nurse infected with the Ebola virus, World Health Organization European Director Zsuzsanna Jakab has declared that the spread of Ebola across Europe is "quite unavoidable." She assures the world that Europe is still at low risk and ... continue reading


Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral Care of the Family Begins. Stop Fighting and Start Praying Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Too much of the back and forth online concerning the Extraordinary Synod on the Pastoral care of the family has only fanned the fires of fear among God's people. It has also given those who oppose the Church, and her liberating message of truth, fodder for their ... continue reading


Discovered artwork asks -- Was Jesus Christ clean-shaven? Watch

Image of Throughout history, the Messiah has been depicted in a variety of ways through holy art -- bearded, clean shaven, light skin, olive skin, long hair, short -- each interpretation reflecting the prevalent society's ideas regarding Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The popular depiction of Jesus Christ in Western art usually shows him with flowing, long blond hair and beard. This depiction may not necessarily be the case. Archaeologists in Spain say they have found one of the world's earliest known images of Jesus ... continue reading


Euthanasia takes mounting toll in the Netherlands Watch

Image of Euthanasia in the Netherlands is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Since legalizing euthanasia seven years ago, the Netherlands has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people who have elected to medically terminate their lives. Intended to ease the suffering of those with terminal cancer, a growing number of patients ... continue reading


Is Pope Francis a Charismatic? Yes, But In the Fullest Sense of the Word Watch

Image of Pope Francis is a good pastor, who wants to ensure that participants in all of these ecclesial movements not fall prey to the danger which enthusiastic movements often face, turning inward or becoming, to use one of his favorite words of warning to the whole Church, self-referential.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

A charism is a grace, a gift lavished by God the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit. And it is a gift that is given to someone, not because he is better than others or because he merited it: it is a gift that God makes so that, with the same ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:14-21
14 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2014 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, the son of a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter