The word Catholic, as in the phrase Catholic Church, comes from the old Greek katholikismos, meaning universal doctrine. Just from the name, its only natural to see that the one true church of Jesus Christ has the most faithful on Earth, with over 1.29 billion worldwide.
The Catholic Faith is present in virtually all countries as well, but what are the top ten countries with the most Catholics?
Every year the Vatican publishes their annual directory book, the Annuario Pontificio, which contains statistics compiled by the Vatican Central Office for Church Statistics.
These statistics for 2017 reveal that Africa is poised to be fastest growing continent of the Faith, with the number of those newly baptized into a covenant with God growing much faster than anywhere else in the world. However, the top ten countries with the most Catholics have remained relatively constant in past years. Five are located in what the Vatican calls ‘America’, three in Europe, one in Asia, and one in Africa. Combined, they account for just over half the total Catholic population in the world.
Here are the top ten countries with the most Catholics:
1. Brazil – 172.2 million
2. Mexico – 110.9 million
3. The Philippines – 83.6 million
4. The United States – 72.3 million
5. Italy – 58 million
6. France – 48.3 million
7. Colombia – 45.3 million
8. Spain 43.3 million
9. Democratic Republic of Congo – 43.2 million
10. Argentina – 40 million
Leading these faithful to the Church are 5304 Bishops, 415,656 priests, and 45,255 permanent deacons. Africa remains again the leader in vocations, gaining over 1,000 priests and seeing a fourteen percent increase in permanent deacons in five years.
Chart source: Wikipedia