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Philippines baptized the most Catholics in 2020

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Philippe Lissac | Godong

J-P Mauro - published on 04/24/22

The world's Catholic population grew by 16 million in most recent statistical analysis.

A Vatican official has praised the Philippines for leading the world in Catholic baptisms. The figures come from the 2020 Statistical Yearbook of the Church (the most recent year for which statistics are available), which found the Philippines to have baptized 1.6 million new Catholics

Interaksyon reports that Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, brought up the baptismal rate of the island nation during an interview with Radio Veritas, on April 17. He said: 

The Philippines is in the midst of celebrating 500 years of Catholicism in the country, which began in 2021 and was extended due to the world pandemic. The Manila Times reminds that Pope Francis has extended the granting of plenary indulgences until the end of 2022. In a message to the Filipino faithful, the pope thanked them for being the “smugglers of the faith” through overseas workers. 

Catholic stats

According to the outlet Rcam, the exact number of Catholic baptisms in the Philippines was 1,603,283. It was closely followed by Mexico, which had 1,537,710, and coming in third place was Brazil with 1,126,152. These figures come in stark contrast to European baptismal rates, which saw 1,533,666 new baptisms for the entire continent. 

More stats were listed by the Manila Times, which noted that there were 414,336 Catholic priests worldwide at the end of 2019, an increase of 271 from previous year. Breaking down the world’s Catholic population, America and Europe represent 68.8% of the world total, followed by Asia (15.2%), Africa (13.4%) and Oceania (2.6%).

While the highest density of Catholics was found in America and Europe, they were found to have decreased in 2020, by 1.5% and 0.5% respectively. Overall there were 1.36 billion Catholics recorded worldwide, a number that rose by 16 million compared to 2019.

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