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Demographics, leadership of Catholic Church shifting away from developed world

Published: Monday, June 30 2014 12:30 p.m. MDT

Pope Francis leaves after the first session of an extraordinary consistory in the Synod hall at the Vatican City, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Alessandra Tarantino, Associated Press) Pope Francis leaves after the first session of an extraordinary consistory in the Synod hall at the Vatican City, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Alessandra Tarantino, Associated Press)

As seen on the graphic to the left, roughly 52 percent of Catholic cardinals eligible to be elected pope live in Europe. However, 73.6 percent of Catholics live outside the continent.

According to the World Christian Database, as quoted by Catholic News Service, the demographics of the Catholic Church are shifting mightily. In 1970, for example, only 61.5 percent of Catholics lived outside Europe.

The election of Pope Francis, an Argentine, further solidified the demographic shift as he appointed several new cardinals from the developing world. What does this mean for the future of the Catholic Church? Has it given up on Europe? Or is it simply finding the strength it needs elsewhere?

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