Church growth steady worldwide Admin Wednesday, May 7, 2014 The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests, permanent deacons, and religious men increased in 2012, while the number of women in religious orders continued to decline, according to Vatican statistics. © 2023 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: [email protected] The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.