Islam is ‘bigger’ than catholicism?

by Richard on March 31, 2008

Strange little piece in today’s Independent that doesn’t seem to have made the online edition.

Islam is ‘bigger’ than catholicism
Vatican City: Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said yesterday. Monsignor Vitorio 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. He said if all Christian groups were considered, they made up 33 per cent.

I’m really surprised that something like this has apparently come out of the Vatican. When you do comparisons, it can only be meaningful to compare like with like. If something is going to compared with Islam, it has to be Christianity not one branch of it. And if you want to compare something of Islam with Roman Catholicism, wouldn’t have to be (say) Shia or Sunni for the comparison to make sense?

I’m sure that the Vatican understands these distinctions. Which makes me wonder about the motivation for this odd news release. Any clues?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }


John Meunier 03.31.08 at 8:17 pm

Well, didn’t a report come out earlier this year that said most of us non-Catholics weren’t actually part of the church.

I agree with your analysis and also found it an odd comparison.


Bene D 04.01.08 at 12:22 am

Slow news day? It made the broadcast news here in Canada, which is fine, we have a large Catholic population.

Is it the buzz machine kicking in prior to the Pope heading to the US mid-April?


Kim 04.01.08 at 7:56 am

It sounds like Viagra spam.


Anonymous 04.01.08 at 10:05 am

don’t forget it’s april fools day…


tortoise 04.01.08 at 4:38 pm

Anonymous - the story broke yesterday, 31st March.

I happened to be in London yesterday and saw this item in one of the freebie commuter newspapers - produced I think by the same folk as the Evening Standard (bleugh).


malc 04.01.08 at 6:47 pm

The version in The Times also included the ‘33% of the world’s population that are Christian’ stat. And I spotted the April’s Fool story and it wasn’t this one.


Wood 04.01.08 at 10:20 pm

I was under the impression that the Pope (as per the Dominus Jesus papal bull of a few years back, issued under JPII but written by the present incumbent) doesn’t really consider non-Catholics as being in the Christian church as such.


Ken Hagler 04.09.08 at 11:18 am

Do a search for Catholic Allen Hunt, a former UM Clergy, recently becoming Catholic. From the perspective of the Catholic-blogosphere, this appears as an incredible conversion. It is also ripe with poor journalism as many of the sites declare him to have been pastor of the third largest UMC in the world. I’d have to go with Wood’s take on it, there seems to be a move now away from the table regarding our connection as the universal Church.


the truth 09.15.09 at 9:48 pm

Christians constitute 31% of the world population. Muslims forms 27% of the world population. this is the real calculation. all other are boasts or underestimation. with in 20 years Muslims will form 31% and christians will reduce to 29% of the world population. Muslims grew up by population growth, reversions from other religion.

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