According to BBC news there are over 1.2 billion: “There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures. More than 40% of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America – but Africa has seen the biggest growth in Catholic congregations in recent years.”
However, I question this number for the following reason. In Catholic families, when a baby is born, it is baptized. At that point, as far as the Catholic church is concerned, the child is a Catholic and will remain a Catholic for the rest of his/her life unless excommunicated.
So, while the church may list over one billion members, how many are actually ‘Catholic’ meaning they actually attend a Catholic church somewhat regularly (more than Christmas and Easter). I posit that it may be only half or less of that number.
What are your thoughts?