Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.

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

"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslam

10 Comments
Posted March 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Brian from T19 wrote:

Then, according to the logic of reasserters, that must be the true religion.  Statistical growth proves it!  Plus Muslims have an AFA (average Friday attendance) of almost 100%.  I think ++Katharine is right, there must be more than one path…

March 30, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
2. NewTrollObserver wrote:

It’s lonely at the top.

March 30, 2:22 pm | [comment link]
3. Abu Daoud wrote:

Good grief, who writes this stuff?!?  Islam is so far from being unified that there is no defensible way of saying that all Muslims are part of one “denomination”.  Wow…  Haven’t we heard of shi’a and sunni Muslims? Two very different communities, and those are just the two biggest, and among those two large communities there are thousands upon thousands of smaller sects and groupings.

March 30, 2:36 pm | [comment link]
4. Words Matter wrote:

Then, according to the logic of reasserters, that must be the true religion.

Having participated in discussions of statistics, I am quite sure that most reasserters are a little more sophisticated than Brian presents us. But then, why let facts in the way of a good insult, eh?

March 30, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
5. Harvey wrote:

Can someone answer the following question?
Grouping all churches and peoples claiming to be Christians together as a group in the total population, how does this number of persons compare to the total number of persons claiming to be Muslims??

March 30, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
6. Words Matter wrote:

Harvey:

There are about 2 billion Christians (a third of the world’s population) and about 1.3 Muslims.

March 30, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
7. Ross wrote:

#5:  To add to “Words Matter”‘s reply, a useful source for quick summary statistical information like this is the CIA World Factbook.  According to that source, the world population religion breakdown is:

Christians 33.32% (of which Roman Catholics 16.99%, Protestants 5.78%, Orthodox 3.53%, Anglicans 1.25%), Muslims 21.01%, Hindus 13.26%, Buddhists 5.84%, Sikhs 0.35%, Jews 0.23%, Baha’is 0.12%, other religions 11.78%, non-religious 11.77%, atheists 2.32% (2007 est.)

The percentages work out to be roughly the same as WM’s figures.

March 30, 5:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Ed the Roman wrote:

One way or another, this sucks.

March 30, 11:15 pm | [comment link]
9. Abu Daoud wrote:

FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO:
1) Have more kids
2) Adopt a non-Christian child (Think Kazakhstan, really)
3) Support evangelistic missions to Muslims (the best Anglican group for this is Anglican Frontier Missions but other good ones (non-Anglican) are Frontiers and Arab World Missions and CCC International.
4) Go and become a missionary.
5) Witness to Muslims near your home. Go out of your way to get to know where they live and work and hang out. Go there.

March 31, 5:24 am | [comment link]
10. Bryan McKenzie wrote:

I don’t think that can be right, because there are several different sects and sects within sects to Islam; which makes it hard to classify as a single “denomination.”

March 31, 11:07 am | [comment link]
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