PH remains Asia’s Catholic bulwark
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines posted the most number of baptized young children in the world in 2019 and remains the most Catholic country in Asia, according to Annuario Pontificio, the Vatican’s statistical yearbook.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) quoted the Catholic News Service as reporting that more than 1.6 million children younger than 7 were baptized in 2019, according to the Annuario Pontificio.
Mexico came second with over 1.48 million baptisms, Brazil third with more than 1.05 million, then the United States with 595,286 and Colombia with 442,396, the report added.
16M more Catholics
Worldwide, the number of Catholics increased by 16 million in a year to 1.34 billion, holding steady at about 17.7 percent of the global population, a growth spread across all continents except Europe.
In 2019, 48.1 percent of the world’s Catholics were living in the Americas, followed by Europe with 21.2 percent, Africa with 18.7 percent, about 11 percent in Asia and 0.8 percent in Oceania.
In Asia, the countries with the largest Catholic populations remain the Philippines (more than 85 million), India (almost 20 million), China (12 million), South Korea (5.9 million) and Vietnam (6.2 million).
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first Christian baptism in Cebu, that of Cebu chieftain Humabon and 800 others by Fr. Pedro de Valderrama on April 14, 1521, the CBCP said.
The Annuario Pontificio, which was released in March, contains figures valid as of Dec. 31, 2019, about every Vatican office, as well as every diocese and religious order in the world.
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