Depending on where one lives in the world it can often seem like either everyone is Catholic or nobody is Catholic! So it can be hard to get a real sense of just how Catholics fit into the world as a whole. Well, here are some numbers for you.
There are currently an estimated 6.7 billion people on the planet Earth.
Approximately 33% of those, or 2.2 billion, consider themselves Christian. That makes Christians the largest religion in the world by far. However, Islam is currently growing at a higher rate than Christianity.
Just over half of those Christians, or about 1.1 billion, are Roman Catholic (with some additional 240 million Eastern Orthodox). That makes Roman Catholics, by an overwhelming margin, the largest “denomination” of any religion on the planet. No other Christian “denomination” comes anywhere close to comparing.
The only other religious entities that can even start to compare in size are the Sunni Muslims (estimated at 940 million) and the Vishnuism Hindus (580 million) , but neither compare in organization, unity, reach, and influence next to that of the Catholic Church.
So if you are ever unsure about the number of Catholics in the world or their influence, just remember that the Catholic Church is an ocean in a world full of ponds and puddles – just as we would hope Christ’s Church would be.