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?