Cranmer’s Pulpit No. XI
Cranmer's blog is now 2 years old, and His Grace wishes to share his continuing success with his faithful readers and loyal communicants. March was yet another record month, registering 26,066 unique visitors to his world-renowned blog of intelligent erudite comment upon matters religio-political.
His Grace featured in the ‘Best of the Politics Blogs’ in the New Statesman, and Reuters once again broadcast his religio-political insights far and wide, including his ‘Cardinal condemns “monstrous” legislation’.
Iain Dale’s Diary has now considerably surpassed ConservativeHome among Cranmer’s top referrers, of which he now has 4677 all over the world.
In celebration of his birthday, and his continuing record statistics, and in perpetual commemoration of the spiritual liberation afforded by his own pulpit experience with the Provost of Eton, Dr Henry Cole, His Grace is pleased to host another ‘Cranmer’s Pulpit’ for communicants to raise whatever religio-political or politico-religious concerns they do so wish (intelligently and eruditely, of course).
But there is perhaps one article to which Cranmer would like to draw attention:
Vatican: Muslims now outnumber Catholics
It is reported by Reuters that ‘Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world’:
Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent.
"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.
He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world's population -- or about 2 billion people.
The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.
Formenti said that while the number of Catholics as a proportion of the world's population was fairly stable, the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates.
He said the data on Muslim populations had been compiled by individual countries and then released by the United Nations, adding the Vatican could only vouch for its own statistics.
This is a curious story, not least because Roman Catholicism is a denomination, and Islam is not.
While it is possible to infer from this report that only Roman Catholics are Christians, Monsignor Formenti clearly does not accord with this.
To talk of Roman Catholics and then Muslims is like comparing the number of Sunnis to the number of Christians. The one is simply a denomination, the other an over-arching religion.
When one adds the Orthodox, the Protestants, the Anglicans and sundry Non-Conformists to the statistics, Christians still considerably out-number Muslims, so the picture is by no means as bleak as the Reuters headline conveys.
However, when one notes that ‘the percentage of Muslims was growing because of higher birth rates’, perhaps Pope Paul VI had prophetic foresight when he penned Humanae Vitae…