#ShortNews: Worldwide decline in number of priests, seminarians, sisters; Catholic population rises by 14 million

As every year, in view of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 92nd anniversary on Sunday, October 21, 2018, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. The tables are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2016) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare and education.

To 31 December 2016, Catholics in the world numbered units with an overall increase of 14.249.000. The increase affects all continents, except Europe for the third consecutive year (- 240.000). Increases were registered above all in Africa (+6.265.000) and in America (+ 6.023.000) followed by Asia (+ 1.956.000) and Oceania (+ 254.000). The world percentage of Catholics decreased by 0.05 %, settling at 17.67%. By continent: increases were registered in America (+ 0.06), Asia (+ 0,01) and Oceania (+ 0.02), decrease in Africa (- 0.18) and Europe (- 0,11).

To check out the full statistics; http://www.fides.org/en/news/64944-VATICAN_CATHOLIC_CHURCH_STATISTICS_2018

#ShortNews: Asia Bibi blasphemy case

A Pakistani mother of five, 47-year-old Asia Bibi, will soon learn whether she is to hanged for blaspheming against the Prophet Mohammed. She has been in jail for nine years and all of her appeals been rejected. Her only hope is a reprieve from Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

Her crime? There are conflicting reports of what actually happened to this simple woman from Punjab. But the worst that she might have done is this. She, her husband and her children were the only Roman Catholics in her village. In 2009 she was working in the fields on a sweltering day and went to the village well for a drink of water. A Muslim woman screamed at her to stop as she was defiling the well by drinking from it. In exasperation Asia Bibi retorted, “What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”

This led to riots, physical violence against her, and a threat: conversion or death. She was arrested and sentenced to death under Section 295C of Pakistan’s Penal Code. In 2011 the Muslim governor of Punjab and a Catholic minister in the national cabinet (the only Christian) were assassinated for speaking up in Asia Bibi’s defence and criticising the country’s blasphemy laws.

Read the story: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46085577

#ShortNews: Pope warns against clericalism, worldliness, gossip

Message of the Holy Father for the Archdiocesan Synod in Buenos Aires (Argentina, 27 October 2018);

The Church, during this journey, must be blessed, because walking together so as to grow together, in the particular Church, attracts the blessing of God. And on this journey you will find very good things and some not so good things. So as not to be negative, I will start with the non-good ones and leave the good ones for the end, like the dessert. I will mention three difficulties, three things that have to be taken care of along the way.

First, clericalism. Second, spiritual worldliness. Third, is gossip. The three dangers we find on the road, on this journey of encounter, listening and reflection, the three dangers we will find are clericalism, worldliness and gossip. Defend yourselves from that. “Good, father, that’s fine. And now, what are the certainties?”

Read the full message here; http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2018/10/27/181027e.html