Sunday, March 30, 2008

Moslems have overtaken us

for the first time ever.

For the first time ever, there are more Muslims than Roman Catholics, the Vatican said yesterday.

Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 per cent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 per cent.

'For the first time in history we are no longer at the top. The Muslims have overtaken us,' he added.

Monsignor Formenti said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, Christians made up 33 per cent of the world's population - or about two billion. The data referred to 2006.

The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13billion.

It did not provide a figure for Muslims but these are generally estimated at around 1.3billion.

Monsignor Formenti said that, while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates.