Philippines continues to lead world in number of Catholic baptisms

April 19, 2022 - 12:06 PM
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Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu leads the baptism of 100 children on April 11, 2021, as part of the 500th anniversary celebration of the first baptism in the country. (Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Cebu via CBCP News)

The Philippines has remained on top in terms of the country with the most Catholic baptism in 2020, a Vatican envoy said Sunday.

Speaking on Radio Veritas, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown said it is “a living testament of faith in the 500 years of Catholicism in the country”.

“I am glad to share that the Philippines has the highest number of baptisms in 2020 compared to other places in the world,” Brown said.

Citing the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila, Veritas reported that the Philippines had 1.6 million newly baptized Catholics in 2020.

Next to the Philippines is Mexico, which recorded 1.53 million baptisms, and Brazil with 1.12 million.

In 2019, the Philippines also topped the list of Catholic baptisms around the world.

The figures for 2020 — the most recent year where numbers are available — come from the 2020 Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae (Statistical Yearbook of the Church).

The yearbook also gives detailed figures on the Church’s workforce, sacramental life, dioceses, and parishes.

Overall, the number of Catholics in the world reached 1.36 billion, an increase of 16 million over the previous year.

While Catholics continued to account for 17.7% of the world population, their numbers grew in Africa by about 2.1% and in Asia by 1.8%. In Europe, the increase was just 0.3%.