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Vatican Statistics: Africa Had Biggest Increase in Catholics, While Numbers Fell in Europe

Pope Francis arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Jan. 31, 2023. The streets of the Pope’s five-mile drive from the N’Dolo Airport to the presidential residence were lined with thousands of locals who cheered and waved flags.

Catholics in the world numbered 1,375,852,000 people at the end of 2021, with an overall increase of 16.2 million compared with the previous year, the report states.