Since the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church is again on the limelight exposing both its negative (and often unpleasant) history from erring priests who were accused of having molested children across the world and its great contribution in the history of human race. However, still media cannot ignore the FACT that this same Church has been there for more than 2,000 years and had survived many schisms, revolt, betrayal, wars etc. The reason: because THIS IS THE CHURCH Jesus Christ built which he promised the "gate of hell shall not prevail." (Mt. 16).
Here is a very informative article from BBC NEWS.
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures. More than 40% of the world's Catholics live in Latin America - but Africa has seen the biggest growth in Catholic congregations in recent years.
Latin America accounts for 483 million Catholics, or 41.3% of the total Catholic population. Of the 10 countries in the world with the most Catholics, four are in Latin America. Brazil has the highest Catholic population of any country at more than 150 million. Italy has the most Catholics in Europe, with 57 million, while DR Congo has the biggest Catholic population in Africa, ranking ninth in the world with almost 36 million.
Since 1970, Catholicism has seen a global shift southwards - the proportion of Catholics living in Europe has declined, while Africa has seen a growth in the number of Catholics - from 45 million in 1970 to 176 million in 2012. Asia has also seen a growth in Catholicism and now represents almost 12% of the total Catholic population in the world, or 137 million people.