Chart Of The Day


The Economist uses the Pope’s “linguistically notable” abdication – it was announced in Latin – to break down the languages used by Roman Catholics around the world:

What’s more interesting is the choice of languages the Holy See offered official translations for: French, English, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. Much of the Catholic Church’s recent growth has been in Latin America and Africa. The use of Portuguese, Spanish, and English makes sense for outreach in the Americas. French might be useful for western and central Africa’s elites, but many people in officially Francophone countries don’t speak French. Missing from this list is Arabic, which the Pope tweets in. The Pope’s biweekly catechesis is provided in Arabic, but the weekly “Words of the Holy Father” typically omit the language. Translations in Croatian, spoken by 3.9m Catholics, are sometimes also available. According to our numbers, the Pope’s nine languages on Twitter represent 900m Catholics. Croatian is the only language not on Twitter while regularly available on the Vatican’s website.