Monday, March 31, 2008

Vatican reports that Muslims outnumber Catholics

The Vatican announced publicly for the first time on March 30 that now Muslims are more numerous than Roman Catholics.

The story is said to have appeared in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. The link for this paper in English is here, and the interview in which Monsignor Vittorio Formenti made this statement does not seem to be available online there yet (the website currently goes through March 26) but will probably appear April 1.

The AP story by Allesandra Rizzo "Muslims more numerous than Catholics" maintains that in 2006 Catholics accounted for about 17% of the world's population, but Muslims 19%, and Christians as a whole, 33%. The article mentions that Muslims tend to have higher birthrates, so that the discrepancy may increase. Some "transplanted" Muslims also tend to have more intra-family loyalty, with many Muslim immigrants in Europe sending money home to relatives. The link for the story is here. The story was featured on AOL Sunday night. Bruce Bawer had covered all of this in his book "While Europe Slept."

This whole issue fits into a recent The Nation story (by Kathryn Joyce) about birthrates and "Demographic Winter," here (look on Feb 20, second part of the posting).

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