by Anura Guruge
In 2009, when I had started working on ‘The Next Pope‘ book, I wanted to see how cardinal elector representation in terms of nationalities stacked up against the sizes of Catholic populations in the various countries — though I knew that representative representation was never a goal of the Vatican, and probably will never be. But, I was still curious. I think I did my first post on this in July 2009 — and updated it a few times since then, because I was going to use the numbers in my book. I fully appreciate that popes are not bound by any criteria as to the composition of the College of Cardinals. But, that also does not stop me from wanting to see how the cardinal elector demographics stack up against the ‘constituency.’ So, I play with the numbers.
I pulled up the Catholic Church by country numbers from Wikipedia last night. The Wikipedia numbers are probably NOT the most up to-date. But, at least they try to tell you when they were obtained and how. Yes, I know that Catholic Hierarchy has a set of numbers too. But, I checked their numbers for Brazil. They appear to be from 2005 — same vintage as Wikipedia. None of these numbers are going to accurate. That is a fact of life. Plus, it will, indubitably, be apples and oranges — numbers from some countries more recent than others. But, we are not trying to send a man to the moon using these numbers. So, the inaccuracies are just something we have to live with.
In my next post I will correlate this to cardinals and cardinal electors. Thank you.
I happened to see this data when I was looking for my per country data, and it seemed churlish not to chart it. Much of this growth has been in Africa, with Asia and Latin America helping out. There is lot to be said for banning contraception. At least it will ensure growth in numbers in the developing countries.