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Christianity / Orientations /
Roman Catholic Church

Roman Catholic church in Larache, Morocco.
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Roman Catholic church in Larache, Morocco.

Roman Catholics by country
Last column: % Roman Catholics of the population
Algeria 3,000 <0.1%
Bahrain 100 <0.1%
Egypt 7,000 <0.1%
Iran 4,000 <0.1%
Iraq 3,000 <0.1%
Israel 80,000 1.3%
Jordan 25,000 0.3%
Kuwait 150,000 7.0%
Lebanon 20,000 0.7%
Libya 50,000 0.9%
Morocco 65,000 0.2%
Mauritania 300 <0.1%
Palestine 50,000 1.4%
Qatar 20,000 2.0%
Saudi Arabia 500,000 2.0%
Spanish North Africa 94,000 73.0%
Sudan 800,000 3.0%
Syria 10,000 0.1%
Tunisia 20,000 0.2%
Turkey 15,000 <0.1%
United Arab Emirates 900,000 29.0%
Western Sahara 160 <0.1%
2,800,000 0.7%

*) Calculated for the total population of North Africa and the Middle East, approx. 460,000,000.

Christian church with its headquarters in Vatican State in the centre of Rome, European Union. In the Middle East and North Africa the Catholic Church is present on two levels: The Roman Catholic Church and its local churches; and semi-independent churches through the Eastern Rite Churches.
The term 'Catholic', means 'universal'.
Local churches are administered though the Patriarch in Jerusalem. In 3 major cities, there are nuncios (apostolic delegates): Baghdad, Beirut and Cairo.
About half of all catholics in the region of this encyclopaedia, are members of the Roman Catholic Church. Many are catholics as a result of missionary activities, especially in Sudan, while others belong to expatriate population in oil producing countries. In some countries, like Kuwait and United Arab Emirates they represent a major percentage of the population.
In North Africa, the Catholics are mainly French, Spanish and Italian descendants of the colonialists from earlier centuries. These are people that often have retained their European identity, orientation and lifestyles. In Spanish North Africa the Roman Catholics even represent the majority.

By Tore Kjeilen