PARIS, France – Argentina’s Francis, elected pope on Wednesday, March 13, is the first pontiff from Latin America, which houses more than 40% of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center on religions around the world, Latin America is the corner of the world which hosts the most Catholics, with 432 million worshippers.
Around 3 Latin American inhabitants out of 4 say they are Catholic.
That is despite the rise in Protestant evangelist churches, which have doubled in the past decade, as Catholicism loses ground, notably in Mexico.
Brazil, with its some 134 million worshippers, remains the biggest Catholic country in the world, although numbers have decreased since 1970 when they represented 92% of the population against 68% today, because of the increasing popularity of Evangelical churches.
After Brazil comes Mexico, with 96 million Catholics, or 85% of the population, followed by Colombia with 38 million, or 82%.
Argentina, the homeland of the new pope, is in fourth place with 31 million worshippers, representing a little more than 75% of the population.
The main Catholic countries in the region also include Peru (24 million), Venezuela (22.5 million), Chile and Ecuador (12 million each). – Rappler.com