According to the Vatican, Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the single biggest religious denomination in the world. Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican`s 2008 statistics, claims that Muslims make up 19.2 percent of the world population and Catholics 17.4 percent. Referring to 2006, Formenti told Vatican newspaper L`Osservatore Romano, “For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us.“ Formenti explained that while the percentage of Catholics was fairly stable worldwide, that the percentage of Muslims has grown with higher birth rates. The data on Muslim populations was compiled by individual countries and reported by the United Nations while the Vatican vouches for its own statistics.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A landmark meeting between Catholic officials and Muslim scholars that aims to spur dialogue between Christianity and Islam is planned to take place in Rome this spring, a senior Vatican official said. The top Vatican official in charge of relations with Islam, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, said he expected an advanced group of three Muslim representatives in February or March to lay the groundwork for the meeting. “In a certain sense, (the meeting) can be defined as historic,” Tauran told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, in an edition published earlier this week.