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Top 10 largest Catholic countries

Flags of Brazil, Mexico, The Philippines and The United States countries.

The Roman Catholic Church remains the largest Christian denomination globally, with a population of 1.39 billion as of 2024.

Here are the ten countries with the largest Catholic populations:

1. Brazil (105.3 million) 

Brazil is renowned for its soccer stars, the Amazon River, and the world's most extensive rainforest.

Colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, it boasts the Church of Saints Cosme and Damião, the oldest church built in 1535.

At present, Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world, with 105.3 million adherents.

2. Mexico (91.2 million) 

Known for its Mayan temple ruins, delicious cuisine, and mariachi music, Mexico saw the arrival of the Catholic faith with the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century.

The Catedral de San Ildefonso, completed at the end of the 16th century, is the oldest cathedral in the country.

Mexico has 91.2 million Catholics as of 2024.

3. The Philippines (86 million) 

This country is known for the jeepney, Boracay, Mayon Volcano, and as the text capital of the world. 

The Catholic faith reached the Philippines when the Spaniards colonized the archipelago in the 16th century. 

In 1521, Magellan and his men set foot on Homonhon, an island in Eastern Samar. 

Rajah Humabon, his wives, and subjects were the first converts to Catholicism. Humabon, a chieftain in Cebu, was baptized as Don Carlos Valderrama.

Magellan was killed in a battle on Mactan, an island in central Philippines. 

The first stone church in the country is the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the seat of the Spanish colonial government. 

It has 86 million Catholics today, surpassing the more than 30 million Catholics in Spain, which brought the faith to the Philippines. 

4. The United States (67 million) 

There is just so much about this country: Hollywood, NASA, the White House, NBA, the Golden Gate, etc. 

In the 1500s, Spain expanded its colonial empire in areas in the Americas that later became the United States of America. 

In 1610, the San Miguel Chapel was built by the Spanish in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is regarded as the oldest church in what would become the USA. 

The USA was founded on July 4, 1776, after the British colonization of the 13 territories for 176 years. 

The 13 territories include Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.  

5. Italy (42 million) 

The Vatican, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Renaissance, and the Colosseum are only a few of the interesting things about this country. 

Christianity arrived in Italy in the first century. The Apostles Peter and Paul traveled to Rome for a mission, where they were later killed as martyrs. 

It is believed that Santa Pudenziana is the first church built in Rome in the first century. 

The Vatican, a city-state within Rome, became independent from Italy in 1929. Rome is the capital of Italy. Italy produced many of the saints. 

6. Democratic Republic of the Congo (37 million) 

This republic is known for diamonds, gold, crude oil, and coffee.

As early as 1491, the Catholic faith was already present in this country. Portuguese missionaries converted King João me and his family. His successor and son, King Nzinga Mbemba, made efforts to turn the country into a Catholic one. 

During the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled this republic (formerly Zaire) for 32 years, Catholic schools and universities were nationalized. 

The church became an outspoken critic of Mobutu's authoritarian rule. 

The Congolese church still battles superstitious beliefs and practices in Catholic communities. The citizens still widely practice witchcraft today. 

7. Colombia (34 million) 

World's leading source of emeralds. The third largest exporter of coffee.

The Catholic faith arrived in this country when it was colonized by the Spanish in the 14th century.

During the Spanish colonial rule, the church founded schools and hospitals. 

The Colombians revolted against the colonial government with Simón Bolívar as their leader. They defeated the Spaniards in 1819 and achieved independence. 

8. The Netherlands (33.3 million)

World's leader in tulip production and exports. Home to a thousand windmills. 

The Germanic Franks settled in the Low Countries from the 4th to the 6th century. The Franks converted to Catholicism about 500 AD. They took over most of the region in the 9th century. 

The faith further spread and thrived when sections of the Netherlands became part of the Holy Roman Empire and later of the Kingdom of Spain in the 16th century. 

However after it gained independence from Spain, the Netherlands became a Protestant nation. In 1581, the overt practice of the Catholic faith was banned by the Protestant government.

In the late 19th century, the Netherlands was about 60% Calvinist and 35% Catholic. 

But through the decades, Catholicism survived and rose again. As of 2023, the Netherlands was 17 percent Catholic and 13 percent Protestant. 

9. France (31.3 million) 

Aside from the Eiffel Tower, this country has the most Nobel Prize winners in literature. Home to the world's largest and most visited museum: the Louvre. 

In 496, Clovis I, the founder of France, converted from paganism to Catholicism. He was the first king of what would later become France. 

He became an ally of the papacy and his subjects were largely Catholics. 

The political and religious foundation of Christendom was established after Charlemagne, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was crowned by Pope Leo III in 800 AD. This began the lasting friendship between the French and the church. 

In the following centuries, French colonization of countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, and the Caribbean contributed to the expansion of the church across continents. 

Like Italy, France also produced many of the saints. 

10. Poland (27.1 million)

The infamous Auschwitz concentration camp was built by the Nazis in this country. Malbork Castle, the world's biggest castle, is also found here. 

The Catholic faith arrived in Poland in 966 AD during the time of King Mieszko I. The queen encouraged him to get baptized in the same year. 

Protestantism began to spread in the 1700s. But Catholicism remained the religion of most Poles.

When World War II broke out, about 65 percent of the Poles were Catholics. 

The Catholic church assumed a major role to survive Poland from the Nazis and the Soviets. 

The Soviets occupied Poland from the east without a formal declaration of war on September 17, 1939. The Nazis invaded Poland from the west 16 days earlier. 

As of 2021, more than 70 percent of Poland were Catholics. 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.