World growth in vocations to priesthood

 The number of Catholics in the world increased from around 1,131 million in 2006 to slightly under 1,147 million in 2007, according to the Vatican's latest statistical yearbook.

The figures show that the number of priests has increased over the last eight years, from 405,178 in 2000 to 408,024 in 2007, although their distribution differs from continent to continent. While numbers of priestly vocations are growing in Africa and Asia (by 27.6 percent and 21.2 percent respectively), in America they remain more or less stationary, and have fallen in Europe and Oceania (by 6.8 percent and 5.5 percent respectively).

The number of candidates to the priesthood has also grown slightly, from 115,480 in 2006 to 115,919 in 2007. Here too the different continents show a different evolution, with notable increases in Africa and Asia while Europe and America show a drop of 2.1 percent and 1 percent respectively.

The number of bishops also grew from 4,898 in 2006 to 4,946 in 2007.

Source: VIS

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