The Vatican has unveiled the 2008 edition of the Church's statistical yearbook, showing a 1.4% rise in the world's Catholic population.
Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone presented a copy of the new Annuario Pontificio to Pope Benedict XVI on February 29. The yearbook shows that the world's total Catholic population rose from 1.115 billioin to 1.131 billion between 2005 and 2006, the last year for which accurate figures are available.
The statistics also show modest increases in the number of priests (0.21%) and seminarians (an overall rise of 0.9%). There were 407,242 Catholic priests in the world at the close of 2006, and 115,480 seminarians.
The Annuario shows that during 2007 there were 8 new episcopal sees created, along with one apostolic prefecture, two metropolitan sess, and one apostolic vicariate. The year saw the appointment of 169 bishops.