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Christianity

Catholic Churches

The Catholic churches form a denomination within Christianity and, with around 1.3 billion believers worldwide, are the largest Christian grouping. The Catholics are in turn divided into individual particular churches. The Roman Catholic Church refers to the Latin Church (Western Church). In addition, there are the Eastern Catholic Churches, which are again divided into Greek Catholic or Armenian Catholic Churches.

The head of the Catholic Church is the Pope, who is based in the Vatican.
Distribution Catholics



CountryDistributiontotal
Brazil64.6 %137,313,000
Mexico82.7 %106,627,000
Philippines82.9 %90,843,000
United States23.9 %78,747,000
Italy87.8 %52,288,000
Colombia90.0 %45,795,000
Democratic Republic of the Congo50.0 %44,781,000
Spain94.0 %44,510,000
Argentina92.0 %41,747,000
France58.0 %39,087,000
Poland87.0 %33,017,000
Venezuela96.0 %27,299,000
Peru81.3 %26,806,000
Germany28.5 %23,724,000
Uganda41.9 %19,165,000
Canada39.0 %14,822,000
Ecuador74.0 %13,056,000
Chile66.7 %12,751,000
Kenya23.3 %12,529,000
Angola38.0 %12,489,000
Dominican Republic95.0 %10,306,000
Honduras97.0 %9,607,000
Bolivia76.8 %8,965,000
Mozambique28.4 %8,877,000
Belgium75.0 %8,667,000
Portugal81.0 %8,348,000
Indonesia2.9 %7,932,000
Guatemala47.0 %7,923,000
Burundi62.1 %7,384,000
Cuba65.0 %7,362,000
Vietnam6.8 %6,619,000
Austria73.8 %6,581,000
Australia25.3 %6,499,000
Rwanda49.5 %6,411,000
Paraguay89.6 %6,391,000
Ukraine14.4 %6,355,000
Haiti54.7 %6,237,000
China0.4 %5,608,000
Netherlands28.0 %4,884,000
Ireland84.7 %4,231,000
South Africa7.1 %4,211,000
Ghana13.1 %4,071,000
Burkina Faso19.0 %3,972,000
South Korea7.6 %3,935,000
Costa Rica76.3 %3,887,000
Nicaragua58.5 %3,875,000
Hungary39.0 %3,802,000
Zambia20.2 %3,714,000
El Salvador57.1 %3,704,000
Panama85.0 %3,668,000
Slovakia65.8 %3,592,000
Croatia86.3 %3,493,000
Chad20.1 %3,302,000
Switzerland38.2 %3,299,000
Benin27.1 %3,285,000
Puerto Rico85.0 %2,715,000
Papua New Guinea27.0 %2,416,000
Lithuania77.2 %2,158,000
Republic of the Congo33.1 %1,826,000
Uruguay47.1 %1,636,000
Sri Lanka6.1 %1,337,000
East Timor96.9 %1,278,000
Zimbabwe8.4 %1,248,000
Slovenia57.8 %1,214,000
Central African Republic25.0 %1,207,000
Czechia10.4 %1,113,000
Gabon43.0 %957,000
Senegal5.0 %837,000
Romania4.3 %829,000
Ethiopia0.7 %805,000
New Zealand11.6 %590,000
Luxembourg87.0 %550,000
Burma1.0 %544,000
Bosnia and Herzegovina15.2 %499,000
Malta90.0 %473,000
Russia0.3 %432,000
Cape Verde77.3 %430,000
Singapore7.1 %404,000
Hong Kong5.0 %374,000
Serbia5.0 %345,000
Lebanon5.0 %341,000
Mauritius26.3 %333,000
Trinidad and Tobago21.6 %302,000
Albania10.0 %284,000
Eswatini20.0 %232,000
Denmark3.0 %175,000
Eritrea5.0 %175,000
New Caledonia60.0 %163,000
Belize40.1 %159,000
Guam85.0 %143,000
Solomon Islands19.6 %135,000
Suriname22.8 %134,000
Sao Tome and Principe55.7 %122,000
Saint Lucia61.5 %113,000
Curacao72.8 %113,000
Macao15.0 %97,000
Norway1.8 %97,000
French Polynesia30.0 %84,000
Fiji9.1 %82,000
Aruba75.3 %80,000
Seychelles76.2 %75,000
Kiribati55.8 %67,000
Jamaica2.2 %65,000
Guyana8.1 %64,000
Federated States of Micronesia54.7 %63,000
Bulgaria0.8 %55,000
Grenada44.6 %50,000
Bahamas12.0 %47,000
Dominica61.4 %44,000
Kosovo2.2 %39,000
Samoa19.4 %38,000
Vanuatu12.4 %38,000
Virgin Islands34.0 %36,000
Monaco90.0 %35,000
Cyprus2.9 %35,000
Georgia0.8 %30,000
Liechtenstein75.9 %29,000
Gibraltar78.1 %26,000
Montenegro3.4 %21,000
Comoros2.0 %17,000
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba68.0 %17,000
Tonga15.6 %16,000
Sint Maarten39.0 %16,000
Wallis and Futuna99.0 %16,000
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines13.0 %14,000
Iceland3.6 %13,000
American Samoa20.0 %11,000
Barbados3.8 %11,000
Cayman Islands14.1 %9,000
Bermuda14.5 %9,000
Palau49.4 %9,000
Antigua and Barbuda8.2 %8,000
Saint Pierre and Miquelon99.0 %5,000
Marshall Islands8.4 %5,000
Turks and Caicos Islands11.4 %4,000
Nauru33.0 %4,000
British Virgin Islands9.5 %3,000
Cook Islands17.0 %1,000
Anguilla5.7 %1,000
Vatican City100.0 %1,000
Montserrat11.6 %600
Tokelau36.6 %600
Norfolk Island11.7 %200
Niue10.0 %200
Åland Islands0.3 %100


History of the spread

The Catholic Church has its origin in the person of Jesus Christ. First Christian communities are dated to the years 30-35 AD. It was considered an organized institution only a few decades later, when bishops took over the presidency of the congregations. The first head of the church is considered to be the apostle and bishop of Rome Peter, who died as a martyr in 67.

Despite a general tolerance and freedom of religion in the Roman Empire, Christians were persecuted several times and the practice of their faith was forbidden at times. Significant increases in the population first occurred towards the end of the 2nd century, when Christians were largely tolerated and parts of the Roman upper class also professed Christianity. By the Middle Ages, the faith had become increasingly politicized and achieved its status as almost the sole religion of the people.

Despite the changes that the Catholic Church has undergone over the last 2000 years, it is still considered the most original Christian church today. The first secessions occurred in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, when the ancient Oriental Christians developed into the independent Orthodox churches from the end of the 5th century. More churches split off in the wake of the Reformation beginning in the early 16th century. While the more southern areas of Europe continued to recognize the pope as their head, the church lost large areas in northern and central Europe. Here, the formerly unified church split into Catholics, Anglicans and Protestants. The seafaring nations of Spain and Portugal, which remained Catholic, gave the church considerable growth through the conquered lands around the world. These initially included Central and South America, and later numerous countries in Africa and overseas.