How many Catholics in the World - 'really'?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by BobRyan, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    I was watching John Paul's funeral this morning and saw all those peoples from many nations, tribes and tongues with all those head's of state and kings of the earth... and (well a Bible verse came to mind).

    The symbol for "waters" in the book of Revelation is defined as ...

    And of course there is also a reference to all the "kings of the earth" in Rev 17 and 18.

    Truly the papacy is a world wide church that has influence among the "Waters" and the "kings of the earth" (obvious to all at this time and for many centuries before this).

    My question is - "How many Catholics" are there on the earth?

    How does one get "counted" as a Catholic.

    I have heard that - in Catholic countries where the "state religion" is Catholic - simply being born in a hospital affects the catholic "Census" because to get the "general" numbers they simply take the population count for those countries that are officially Catholic.

    That means that millions of non-Catholics and non-Christians are "being counted as Catholic" in that "rough-ball world-census" number.

    And in countries like America - if you are christened in a Catholic Church - you get counted. However - do you "remain counted" even if you later stop attending?? If you then become Agnostice/atheist or even join a non-Catholic church are you still in their Catholic "number" for world-wide Catholic membership count?? Does the "rough estimate" for the US Catholic count "stay the same" in terms of having "counted you"??. Do they have some vigilant workers constantly revising the numbers to keep them accurate for "Actual" Catholic membership in countries like America and non-Catholic countries in Europe?

    This would mean that millions of Baptists, methodists, atheists etc in America are ALSO counted the general count for "number of Catholics in the world today".

    As those of you know who have churches that practice believer's baptism - it is hard enough to "keep the books accurate" by constantly updating the records and distinguishing between the huge population of non-attending ex-memebers in a city or community and the actual number of attending members. That ratio can be has high as 10-to-1 in some communities. (And of course those "ex-members" may have gone on to other faiths or may have become atheist or ... so it is good to keep that number updated if you really want to know "how many Baptists there are in America" ).

    So...does anybody know that the RCC actually has an "accurate" method of counting or are millions of Adventists, Baptists, Lutherans, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, Hindus world-wide being "counted" in that rough-guess "world-wide Catholic census" count?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  2. music4Him

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    I did a web search and didn't find nothing. However last night during a search for other info I found this site.

    http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    Catholics are listed in the "Christianity" catagory. Also included in the same catagory are * Anglican, * Evangelical, * Jehovah's Witnesses, * Latter-day Saints, * Orthodox, * Pentecostal.
    Although that doesn't get you an exsact number it give you a way to make a rough guesstament.
    BTW, (And I'm asking this jokeingly ya'll. [​IMG] ) I see Pentacostal listed...but what catagory do you put Baptist in? *BIG GRIN* :D
     
  3. FLMike

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    Yes, adherents.com is more or less the accepted place to get such figures, rightly or wrongly.
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Here is one interesting example for Bolivian Catholic numbers -

    North America Numbers for the Catholic church
    http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_113.html

    Catholic Church USA
    http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_125.html

    World wide numbers
    http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_127.html
    ----------------------------------


    By contrast here is the North America total for Adventists

    http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_575.html

    Here is the world wide number

    http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_579.html

    And an interesting note from 1998 about how they count them

    It "appears" that these two very different methods of reporting numbers are all merged together.

    For example - in churches that only count Baptized "Believers" (not every child or every non-attending ex-member) the numbers represent something "relatively close" to active believing participants.

    But in churches that baptize infants and do not update records to show members that are no longer practicing (or believing).. the number may represent the total number of men women and children IN church and OUT of church that have ever been Christened.

    It would be like asking the Baptist for the number of people that have ever passed through the doors VS the actual membership of believers.

    Those would be too hugely different numbers.

    To be consistent - we either have to conclude that the Christian population is really "about 3 billion" people who have ever been a member or a child of a member -- or we have to reduce our 2 billion number today back to something like 1 billion or less "actual practicing believing church members".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. mioque

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    Hold the presses!
    I'm agreeing with my archenemy Bob here!

    The RCC counts everybody that was baptized into their denomination as an adherent, unless that person was either ex-communicated, or has officially left.
    40 or so baptist converts in my church are probably officially still RC's simply because they never notified the bishop that they had left.
    None of them had visited a regular Catholic Church service for many years (not counting weddings, funerals, 1st communions and baptisms), most of them in fact had never visited a normal sunday Catholic mass in their lives. Apparently chronic non-attendence was no reason to remove them from the membershiplist and neither was the complete ignorance when it came to any form of Christian teachings whatsoever some of them displayed.
     
  6. Melanie

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    I THINK you are probably right here Mioque, baptised Catholics would certainly be very large on any roll call, whether the person ever graces the door of a church would be of interest....however who is the group who inducts family members into their church even if dead....

    However there is a huge number of nominal Catholics in the world, as are nominal Christians, and others.
     
  7. BobRyan

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    FYI - the Mormons do that but do not count "the dead" when they report membership numbers.

    As a general rule - groups that do not Baptize infants are going to have numbers that reflect "believers" that attend rather than total church attendance infants-to-adults.

    If an infant is registered with church-A -- who trakes it to determine that it never did attend church as an actual believer?

    It "appears" that names get dropped from RC roles if a specific request is made. But a baptized infant whose family seldom attends and who then grows up to become a member of some other denomination -- may very well NOT report back to their "Christening church" state/city when they get saved.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. Bro. James

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    "Nominal"--in name only.

    We live in a nominal world. Many are secular humanists. Many are practical atheists--that is they live as if there is no "Living God".

    The majority of the world is not "Christian".

    God has always had a remnant--as few as eight.

    The world population recently passed 6B souls.

    The Lord knows them that are His.

    Will He find faith when He returns?

    Behold: The Bride, the Lamb's wife--she is still out there--undefiled.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  9. hillclimber

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    During the murder of Terri Schaivo, I read that there are a few million shy of 1 billion Catholics.
     
  10. Kathryn

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    Africa is giving the greatest numbers of new Catholics and clergy. My step-son who is a Evangelical Protestant minister asked an African in his country if they would like Christian missionaries from the west to come to their country. The reply was that they were prepared to be missionaries for the west. I am hoping that our next Pope is Cardinal Arinze from Nigeria.
     

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