A ZENIT DAILY DISPATCH

1997 Statistical Yearbook of the Holy See - 2

BRAZIL AND MEXICO HAVE LARGEST NUMBER OF CATHOLICS
France Has Most Parishes and U.S. Most Permanent Deacons

VATICAN CITY, 13 JUN 1999 (ZENIT).

The country in the world with the largest number of Catholics is Brazil, with 137.570 million, followed by Mexico, with 89.091 million, the Philippines, with 61.109 million, the United States, with 58.078 million, and Italy, with 55.916 million. These are some of the figures given in the latest edition of the Church's Statistical Yearbook for 1997, the source with the most accurate data on the Church's strength in the world.

However, the highest percentages of baptized Catholics are in smaller countries. The first of these should be the Vatican City State, where 100% of the citizens are Catholics, although, it is interesting to note, the Pontifical State is not included in the analysis of the Church's Statistical Yearbook. Close behind is the Republic of San Marino, a genuine "land island" on Italian soil, with full U.N. membership, and 99.83% baptized Catholics. Listed among the most Catholic countries, according to percentage of the population, are Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon with 99.36% and the Wallis and Futuna islands with 99.02%

Brazil is the country with the largest number of dioceses or ecclesiastical districts (262), while France is the country with the largest number of parishes (27,862). Italy is the country with the greatest number of bishops (501).

Italy also has the largest number of priests (55,499) and women religious (114,775); the United States follows with 50,017 priests and 87,377 women religious. The United States also has the greatest number of permanent deacons (11,790) and non-ordained male religious (6,134).

India is the country with the largest number of major seminarians (9,828), followed by the Philippines (7,618). However, the country with the greatest number of ordinations to the priesthood is Poland, with 580 in 1997.

The Statistical Yearbook reveals there are 2,789 dioceses or ecclesiastical districts worldwide. However, it cannot give information on the Church in continental China (except for Hong Kong) or North Korea because there is virtually no data. The number of dioceses and ecclesiastical districts in both these countries is 146. ZE99061302

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