Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sandro Magister

3/11/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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

'If Allah wills it': Algerian man nearly kills then rapes 25-year-old German student Watch

Image of The young woman (not pictured) was sprayed with pepper spray and beaten before being brutally raped in an alley (Wallpaperup).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The 37-year-old Algerian man, identified only as Rheda, was accused of following 25-year-old "Lara," as she walked home from a nightclub at 5 a.m. in Hannover, Germany. He beat her into submission, raped her while shouting "if Allah wills it," then asked if she enjoyed ... continue reading


Pope Francis in hot water? Pontiff receives angry call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel Watch

Image of Pope Francis's remark about Europe and barren women causes Merkel to respond ( L'Osservatore Romano/Getty Images Europe).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In 2014, Pope Francis delivered an address to European Parliament, in which he spoke of Europe's lack of connection among its people. He claimed the loneliness in the country led to an aging impression, like a grandmother who is no longer fertile. Now, two years later, ... continue reading


SCARY POLL: One in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at borders Watch

Image of A political storm brewed last week after Alternative for Germany - or AFD party leader Frauke Petry [not pictured] advocated the right of border police to gun down migrants.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Growing weary of accommodating refugees from such trouble spots as Syria and Iraq, the German people have expressed a rather shocking sentiment in a recent poll. According to the survey - one in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at their nation's ... continue reading


Seven suspects arrested in Spain for smuggling weapons to ISIS - disguised as humanitarian aid Watch

Image of Eighty-two suspects have been arrested in connection with suspected terrorist activities in Spain since the beginning of 2015.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Seven people have been arrested in Spain and North Africa on suspicion of supplying bomb-making equipment to Islamic State leaders in Syria and Iraq - under the phony pretense of sending humanitarian aid. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six men were arrested ... continue reading


REVEALED: Pope Pius XII's secret efforts to overthrow Hitler Watch

Image of In the late 1990s, debate over whether Pius XII did enough to counter the Nazis reached a high point with the publication of the deeply controversial book,

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Pius XII's secret support for the attempted overthrow of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is the subject of a new book that draws on wartime documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "This ... continue reading


Germany cannot take in 'all the world's needy,' Catholic Church says Watch

Image of The anti-Islamic group Periga has encouraged fellow Europeans to join them in marches for

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Charity has limits, church officials in Germany say. Taking in the majority of the world's Syrian refugees, representatives from the Catholic Church now say that resources are being stretched to the limits, and new refugees must be controlled. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Remains of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Leopold Mandic arrive in Rome for Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of The relics of the two saints were welcomed to St. Lawrence with a large celebration and procession into the basilica (CNS/Reuters).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

The partially incorrupt body of Padre Pio has arrived to Rome for the first time ever alongside that of another friar, St. Leopold Mandic, as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Urns containing the relics of Saint Padre ... continue reading


Seeking reconciliation, Pope Francis, and Russian Orthodox leader to meet in Cuba - for first time, ever Watch

Image of The meeting comes after years and decades of previous outreach efforts, which has prevented papal visits to Russia (AFP).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In the hopes of repairing a schism within Christianity, that dates back as far as the 11th Century, Pope Francis will meet with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba. The two branches have been estranged because of disagreements over papal authority - as ... continue reading


Woman takes toddler to join ISIS Watch

Image of Tareena Shakil took her toddler to Syria to join ISIS (PA).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Twenty-six-year-old Tareena Shakil told her family she would be vacationing in Turkey with her 14-month-old son. The next time her family heard from her, Shakil and her son were in Syria - and had joined the terrorist organization ISIS. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Evidence of the Yeti? Footprints in Himalayan snow said to be of abominable snowman Watch

Image of Among the most elusive of all crypto-zoological creatures, the Abominable Snowman has had several eyewitness accounts. Some Russian fans here pose with an elaborate mock-up of the snowy creature (Lenta).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The abominable snowman, or Yeti, remains one of the world's most elusive crypto-zoological figures. There have been many eyewitness reports of the hairy giant throughout the mountain ranges of the Himalayas for many years. A British man, on vacation in Bhutan, ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 26:4-10
4 'The priest will then take the basket from your hand and lay it before ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:1-13
1 Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 10:8-13
8 What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 14th, 2016 Image

St. Valentine
February 14: Click Here for St. Valentine Prayer's Saint ... Read More