New Pontifical yearbook shows rise in number of baptised faithful

 The number of baptised faithful in the world rose from 1,071 million in 2002, to 1,086 million in 2003 - according to the latest statistics in the Pontifical Yearbook, (Annuario Pontificio) for 2005 which was presented to the Pope yesterday morning. The latest figures show that fact that 49.8 percent of Catholics live in the Americas, 25.8 percent in Europe, 13.2 percent in Africa, 10.4 percent in Asia and 0.8 percent in Oceania. There are 405,450 priests (268,041 diocesan and 137,409 religious), and the total number of priests in 2003 increased with respect to the year before. The number of priestly ordinations also went up from 9,247 in 2002 to 9,317 in 2003. However, the number of seminarians in philosophical and theological seminaries fell from 112,643 in 2002 to 112,373 in 2003. The numbers of seminarians divided by continent are as follows: the Americas 37,191, Asia 27,931, Europe 24,387, Africa 21,909, and Oceania 955. In 2004, the Pope created ten new episcopal sees and one apostolic vicariate. Six metropolitan sees were created, and a total of 171 bishops appointed. Pope John Paul was suffering from flu-like symptoms yesterday, so after receiving the yearbook he was advised to rest, and the rest of his days' appointments were cancelled. Source VIS

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