Blog

On Blog Stats

Just to say, it’s great to see the blog Stats are up again! Thank you for visiting. The traffic indicates that things are busy indeed. So far, this is how we are doing today:

Stats

Visits per country: The most popular (which are reflected in the stats) are:

Country

The list continues…

Even when I wasn’t blogging (for about a year), the Stats never actually dropped anything under a 100 views a day. Most of the postings here are reiterations of the Gospel, Christianity, Biblical Archaeology, Church news and so on. I tend to try and keep things positive or, at least, neutral, and avoid ranting and negativity! There is enough of that out there – and even on some so-called ‘Christian’ blogs. Venom. Sarcasm. Hatred. Vindictiveness. The familiar Gospel for All Saints Day (today) is quite pertinent:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Amen.

But I digress. Since this blog started in 2011, this is where we now stand:

All time

Heading to the 7 digits.

Blessings.

 

Church

Counting the Cost (Accurately)

Why tallies of Christian martyrs vary so widely.

Christianity Today has a look:

About 7 out of 10 Christians killed worldwide for their faith last year came from just one country: Nigeria.

So claimed a persecution report from Jubilee Campaign this spring. The report turned heads for its numbers, including almost 1,000 martyrs in Nigeria alone. Then, weeks later, Vatican officials warned the United Nations that the worldwide Christian death toll in 2012 was actually 100,000.

The disparate calculations called attention to martyrdom and how researchers measure it. Open Doors’ tally of 1,200 Christian martyrs in 2012 aligns more or less with Jubilee’s count. By contrast, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) agrees with the Vatican on a number roughly 100 times that. (Religious freedom watchdogs commonly cite both figures.)

Much of the discrepancy hinges on how researchers define martyr, and how closely they double-check each death.

The standard definition of martyr is “believers in Christ who have lost their lives prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility,” according to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s David Barrett and Todd Johnson in their 2001 research tome, World Christian Trends.

It’s the “situations of witness” aspect that gets tricky…

Read on here.

 

Church

Catholic Population

The Vatican’s annual headcount shows 1.214 billion Catholics worldwide.

Vatican statistics released today show that the number of Asian and African Catholics is continuing its upward trajectory, while the Church in Europe is still shrinking.

The number of religious excluding priests has risen 18.5 percent in Africa and a whopping 44.9 percent in Asia in just 10 years, according to the 2013 Pontifical Yearbook.

The Yearbook, which was published May 13 and contains data from 2011, revealed Catholics still make up less than 18 percent of the world’s population, but the Church is growing the fastest in Africa and Asia.

And although it shows “a strong downward trend was observed in data for the professed religious women with a decrease of 10 percent from 2001 to 2011,” there has also been “a sustained increase” with over 28 percent in Africa and 18 percent in Asia.

The Yearbook states that although the number of Catholics in the world increased by just 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, it increased by 4.3 percent in Africa and 2 percent in Asia.

The total number of Catholics that were baptized in 2011 had the highest representation in the Americas at 48.8 percent, followed by Europe with 23.5 percent, Africa was at 16 percent, Asia had 10.9 percent and Oceania came in at just under one percent.

“The dynamics of the number of priests in Africa and Asia is somewhat comforting,” says the document.

It reports that there were over 3,000 new priests in the two continents in 2011 and that in 10 years the numbers increased by 39.5 percent in Africa and 32 percent in Asia.

“America remains stationary around an average of 122,000 priests and Europe, in contrast to the global average, has seen a decrease of 9 percent in the past decade,” the Yearbook says.

Another surprising fact is that the number of permanent deacons has also boomed, especially in Europe and the United States, increasing by over 40 percent in the last 10 years.

The Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute for General Affairs Archbishop Angelo Becciu presented the Yearbook on May 13 to Pope Francis.

It was edited by several people, including Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, head of the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Church, and Enrico Nenna, the chief statistician in the Vatican’s Central Office for Church Statistics.

The number of Catholics worldwide has remained steady at 1.214 billion for the year 2011.