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Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn’t Know!

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments!

Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.1. Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is above 100 percent, per capita. Although the fact is shocking it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million visitors annually. Most of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other petty offenses done by outsiders.
2. The ONLY Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history was the Roman Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their linage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison.

3. The Catholic Church consists of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and although they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church.

4. Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book ever printed was the Catholic Bible.

5. The Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have removed some books of the Bible because some of the verses were inconsistent with their theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender in this regard, removing Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. He also made an effort to remove James and Revelations, but this was rejected by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of “adding” the books, but despite this common belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them.

6. How many saints are recognized by the Catholic Church? Th does not seem to be an official number, but it exceeds 10,000. Of course, any person who enters heaven is a saint, by definition, so it is certain the number of actual saints in existence is much greater than the number recognized by the Church.

7. Any Catholic may perform an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. In such a case, the validity of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized, that they desire the baptism. There are specific guidelines for such practices that Catholics should follow. Anyone wishing to be prepared for such a case should refer to the catechism for a deeper understanding of this allowance. Generally, such practices ought to be left to trained clergy.

8. About 15 percent of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only healthcare, education and social services available to people.

9. The Catholic Church spends more money than Apple brings in. Expenditures by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in revenue.

This is an image of the semi-secret arsenal of weapons available to the Swiss Papal Guard. This is an image of the semi-secret arsenal of weapons available to the Swiss Papal Guard.

10. The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must demonstrate good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are chosen are granted a private audience with the pope along with their families. In extreme circumstances, they are expected to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506.

So, how did you do? Post in our comments section if you learned something new and remember to share this article with your friends!



  1. Zama Ndefru Reply

    11. Monetization of Catholicism – A Catholic ‘hush! Hush’ Phenomenon

    Everything Catholic is geared to around 1 percent Catholic population worldwide that can afford anything Catholic at any price. Hardly anyone sees anything wrong with this. The 99 percent are taken for granted. Anything Catholic in print is for the former cohort. The rest can get in by assimilation or whatever.
    Question: How many Catholic homes own the Catholic Bible? 2 percent will be an exaggeration. If they own the Holy Bible at least 90 percent of these are the King James versions or variations thereof probably handed around for free to homes by non-Catholic evangelists. A good Catholic Bible is at least 4 times the price of other Bibles.
    When other denominations gratuitously say Catholics do not read the Holy Bible, we are quick to say the entire Catholic life is the Holy Bible starting with the Holy Mass. This is true; but should this replace the reading of the Holy Bible? Without the Holy Mass there is no Catholic Church. Christ was the First Priest to say the Holy Mass. Now, look at the following:
    THE MASS: A BIBLICAL WALK THROUGH; Understanding What We Say and Do in the Liturgy; by Edward Sri (2011, 157pp) Published by Ascension Press, Westchester, PA Price $12.99 ($13.00) PAPERBACK
    THE MASS: STUDY PROGRAM; A BIBLICAL WALK THROUGH by Edward Sri (2011, 36pp) Published by Ascension Press, Westchester, PA Price $7.95 ($8.00) PAPERBACK.
    These two could have been subsumed into ONE book if the purpose were the propagation of the faith or help Catholics better understand and appreciate what they do at the Holy Mass. But; MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! the latent Catholic phenomenon of evangelization. The content is really great! But, $20.00? There must have been a goal for the book which has nothing to do with Catholics understanding what they do daily or leave the Church because they are completely IGNORANT of what they are doing in Church. These two booklets are really great by any measure and should be in ALL Catholic homes, or used as study guides in areas where literacy is a problem. At this cost? Nuh!
    This is just a tip of the iceberg. Anything Catholic is expensive to the extent one can hardly find anything Catholic in non-Catholic bookshops but for Pope Francis’ book found everywhere. Why? It is less than $6.00 and very well printed.
    I have been a member of a Catholic Bible Study group for over 10 years. We get reading material at least 3 per year. The books come mostly from Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, and Little Rock Scripture Group. Each member in our group coughs up $10 no matter how small the booklet is. For example, we covered a topic Women in the Bible. However, I found a book with the same title not produced by Catholic publishers and at least 4 times the size of what we had at $7.00. It is truly expensive to be Catholic.
    We see these daily but say nothing just to be called “good Catholics" and my types are renegades of the faith who should be wished away. If you are truly Catholic and love the Church you CANNOT afford to be silent.
    Being Catholic one does not have to do much reading about the Catholic Church. Less than 1 percent Catholics not of the hierarchy of the Church care to even read anything about the Church, let alone feel such can contribute to the mindset of the Church.
    Being indifferent to key aspects of Catholicism is OK for over 99 percent of Catholics. Live it to a few and follow blindly what the few say. Even questioning to know is not taken kindly by the elites of The Church.

    1. John Reply

      What was the point in all that?

      1. Teresita Reply

        Thank you, that was very good information. We need to always be learning our Faith.

    2. Fadar Reply

      you really made a lot of sense on this your comment, because I have been a Catholic from birth and am still one but I think its some what expensive being a catholic but in all I pray we focus on the ultimate goal which is ‘SALVATION’

    3. Norbert Reynaud Hinckley Jr. Reply

      According to point 7, The emperor Constantine I was not baptized since he was baptized against his wishes.

    4. Debra Brunsberg Reply

      I think you are way off base in just about everything. Sorry that you see only negatives. You might wish to try a library because if they do not have the book you want, you can request it and most often, they will get it. Most parishes around me have libraries themselves with duplicate copies of the books you mentioned, you might wish to see about starting one yourself if your parish does not have one. You could also try Loome books, they sell used books, some priceless, most affordable and they are the largest theological bookstore in North America. Learning the faith and growing closer to the Lord can be done with just two books, The Holy Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Frequent Mass, confession and Adoration will bring you to where the Lord wants you. Look at everyone who was converted and even those who became Saints before there were any books. (or even a Bible)

  2. jerrey Reply

    Thanks for the information, i well share it to others.

    1. Amelia Kiggundu Reply

      Well said Debra, and the holy spirit is here to guide us.

  3. John Jackson Reply

    I didn’t know about the Vatican crime rate. But it makes sense that with so many tourists.
    I didn’t know the names of the books excluded by protestant religions.
    I knew there are a lot of catholic hospitals but 15% in the US is quite a large number.I knew the Swiss Guard was well armed but I didn’t know the only swiss requirement.

    1. Dan Scerpella Reply

      Another interesting thing about the Swiss Guard. Despite that nation’s reputation as neutral in the last few wars, in fact in the middle ages and up to the 19th century, the Swiss were where you went for mercenaries as they were such able warriors. This is the reason they were the natural choice to defend the Catholic Pontiff. There is a story of their valor in defending a Pope against insurmountable odds and at great cost in lives of Swiss military, the details escape me, but this is essentially how they got the permanent gig. If you want to see an interesting ceremony, find the swearing in ceremony on Youtube, there are many of them. Each guardsman stands before the Pope and proclaims loudly their pledge to risk their life to protect him. It is quite stirring actually. The Guardsman recites the pledge in their own language which as Swiss, can be German, French, or Italian.

      The Italian canton of Switzerland, Ticino, became part of Switzerland as payment from a Lombardian Italian noble for military services rendered in the 17th century. Swiss Italians are fairly annoyed when they are referred to as Italians.

  4. Prince Reply

    Quite beautiful an information it is. But what is/are the sourse of all these info?

  5. Yvonne Reply

    I knew 6 items well 2 somewhat and 2 were new to me. It’s Good to be Catholic.

    1. Barbara Vize Reply

      Yes, it is. Went to Mass today and rediscovered the beauty of it.

  6. Franklin P. Uroda Reply

    A laicized priest (usually to get married) in a crisis situation, may hear confession and absolve. Wasn’t aware of the crime rate in the Vatican. Skeptical.

  7. Jihan Perez Reply

    I not rich, but I do have a bible, i did not buy it but found it hidden somewhere in apartment my cousin rented, but I would really wanted to buy a bible if i didnt found one. It is not expensive to be Catholic, you have all the act of free will. The free will to love and give.

    1. Mary Daly Reply


  8. Dean La Guidara Reply

    I’m a blind catholic and proud

  9. Livia Rhuma Reply

    The Catholic Church also invented the University system… Should have been included. I’m very shocked by #7, never heard of that. I learned of most of the other facts from EWTN. Fr. Mitch Pacwa explains everything Catholic in great details…

  10. chrissythehyphenated Reply

    I knew all these but the crime rate in Vatican City, which I never gave any thought. But I’ve been there and it’s packed with tourists, so pick pockets make sense.

  11. Marie-José Richard Reply

    The #1 and # 4 were the only one I was not aware of. I love my catholic faith

  12. Ruth Ferreri Reply

    Did not know about crime rate in Vatican but makes sense for Theives to gather where ther are millions of unsuspecting people. Apple comparison was interesting. Wonder how current it is in 2015? In response to the other person’s comment about high expense for Catholic books, etc. Old marketing technique to offer what the customer will pay. Good quality Catholic books and scripture studies are well worth the price. Can’t put a $ value on heaven!
    Ruth Ferreri

  13. Anne Immaculate Reply

    Catholics, let us read the Catholic bible inorder to access all the books of the Bible.

    1. Zama Reply

      Strongly agree with you. Creating a more articulate body of Catholics who know all about their faith and can talk proudly about it will do a lot of good for the Church. Apathy, indifference, lukewarm may be signs of ignorance of what the Church does.

  14. Zama Ndefru Reply

    Mrs. Ferreri, when heaven is reserved for those with dollar power, it will not be the envy of most. Heaven for the highest bidder is not the heaven I know of. We must be talking of two heavens.

    To predicate heaven based of the dollar power of those who get into it is contrary to what the Holy Book that guides those that get into it say. Remember; “It is easier for an elephant to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich to enter heaven.” Except you disagree with this.

    A more engaging, active Christian, for me gives more meaning Church. Those that leave the Church have some very amorphous, flimsy excuses one wonders how much they knew about the Church they were a part of. This is what the Church seems to be very oblivious to and the likes of you are happy with things as they are. Not I.

    1. Bill Giers Reply

      Zama, so you would cheat the author, printer, publisher, and bookstore out of a just and fair wage? You want things for your soul’s salvation for free? NO effort on your part? Join with others to buy a book, borrow one, use a library. You HAVE options. Do you HAVE to OWN the book? Do you share or donate the books you do own? So, what have YOU done to counter this? Have you raised money to buy these books and GIVE them away? PRACTICE your Christianity. BE the change you speak about. WHY act like a victim who is at the mercy of others? GOD has commanded you and ALL Christians to act in a Christian way on HIS behalf. Go, and do. BE an example.

  15. Pat Munyan Reply

    There is no book in the bible with the title Revelations. It is Revelation. No s.

  16. Ramona Mercado Reply

    I consider myself a good Catholic. I have visited the Vatican City at least three times, have never seeing the Pope personally, but I wouldn’t know what to tell him anyway. I have made it a point to know more about my religion in able to avoid being contaminated with lies, love Saints biographies, history of the beginning of our faith. Also I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, on my own accord. Participated as Lector, choirs, ministering communion. Raised two children and two grandchildren on the Faith. Right now I am in love with Christ, have great faith, pray my rosary. Hurts me to listen Protestants insulting my Church, we don’t do that.

  17. Francis Reply

    Thanks for refreshing my memory. I am proud to be a Catholic

  18. Cristine Mastros Reply

    I call myself Roman Catholic, as to not be confused with fundamentalists who call themselves “Christian”. Fundamentalists who show little to no understanding of Christ’s Wisdom, Humanity and Tolerance.

  19. shayshay Reply

    I am a proud Catholic and knew 7 of the 10 items. I was surprise at the crime rate but once it was explained, then I understood. This was truly a wonderful refresher.

  20. john kariuki Reply

    I didnt know about writing of the bible. this truly reminds us of our faith in catholic religion.the catechism is great way of learning and understanding our catholic religion and The Holy Rosary is one of our most powerful prayers among others.proud to be catholic.

  21. Igbaukum Emmanuel Reply

    Good to understand some of this interesting fact, I am a Catholic but most of this information here are strange especially the crime rate. Igbaukum.

  22. Charles O'Gorman Reply

    Worth every penny

  23. mark k Reply

    Zama, being catholic is free. All the stuff you buy I just stuff and has no bearing on your salvation. All Catholic churches have a library of reading materials. You have a chip on your shoulder about something, get over it.

  24. Edgar Gabay Agustilo Reply

    SOME OF THE CHARITIES RUN BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH include 5,305 hospitals, including 1,694 in the Americas and 1,150 in Africa. The Church also has 18,179 clinics, including 5,762 in the Americas and 3,884 in Asia. It also manages 17,223 homes for old people, the terminally ill and the handicapped. Most of them, 8,021 in Europe and 5,650 in the Americas. It also runs 9,882 orphanages, of which a 3rd of them are in Asia. I did not include any of the Catholic run schools in the Americas. IN AFRICA – 1,137 hospitals, 5,375 dispensaries, 184 lazarets, 184 house for seniors and chronically ill, 1,285 orphanages, 2,037 Gardens for Childhood, 1,673 family counceling centers, 2,882 centers for sanity education, 1,365 other institutes for poor’s assistance, 67,848 Maternal Schools, 93,315 Primary Schools, 42,234 Secondary Schools with: 1,968,828 High School students assisted and 3,088,208 University students assisted. I find this quote to be very accurate. “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be." ― Fulton J. Sheen –

  25. Joe370/ Reply

    Martin Luther also attempted to do away with Jude and Hebrews as well. However, they were always listed last in the German-language Luther Bible.

  26. Zama Ndefru Reply

    I wrote this comment knowing fully well that I will tick some nerves and will get negative comments. One thing I have is a thick skin and can take all.

    I am Catholic, born so, and will die so. NO ONE, and absolutely no one will change this premise. The problem I raise here is NOT I. Those trying to personalize my point it is their problem. I am not a blind Catholic. I love my Church and want the best for it. If I truly love the Catholic Church as I do, I will want the best of the denomination: ‘the more the merrier’. One thing I will do is point out errors where I feel there are errors or areas the Church should look into. You are free to agree or disagree with me
    “No one lights a candle and puts it under the bed." If you light a candle put it out so others can see. If one writes a book about the Holy Mass that is this significant; the best one can do with such a book is make it available as much as possible to all that may need to have access to it. Try to see to it that other means are reached to ensure that all benefit from it. An informed Church is better than a less informed one. This is the trust of my thinking.

    I have been labeled names, and called whatever. Freedom of expression has to prevail in our Church. I do not even want to explain anything about myself because the issue addressed here is beyond any individual. I know the Catholic Church to a very high degree and what it does over the world. I need no lecture on this.

    Without the Holy Mass, Catholics might have had to face the East like our Muslim sisters and brothers when praying to Jesus. The Holy Mass makes this irrelevant. If anyone comes up with a document that explains the Holy Mass better, gives it a new and improved understanding of the Holy Mass, is it even something to wonder whether such a document should have the widest publicity wherever Catholicism prevails?

  27. Lorry Davis Reply

    There are many sources available on the internet that are free, is a GREAT one! You can learn a lot!!!!
    Didn’t know about the crime rate, but the rest I knew.

  28. David Kahn Reply

    First 1000 years? More like 500 years. That’s when the Copts in north Africa split off.

  29. Perpetua D'Souza Reply

    I’m proud to be a Roman Catholic

  30. adnan Reply

    it was real informative for Pakistani catholics.

  31. Clinton Reply

    We have the bible despite the Catholic church not because of the Catholic Church. Councils determined which books were included and which were rejected. The books that were rejected from the Protestant Bibles were done so on solid grounds. Luther rejected much of the heresies by the Catholic church in his day, and whilst he was no saint, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

    As far as the spend by the Catholic church goes I can well believe it. The Catholic church is probably the wealthiest institution in the world.

    1. Bill Giers Reply

      Clinton, You are absolutely correct Protestants DID edit the Bible (True Word of GOD) after over 1000 years and most are honest enough to name their Bible as a VERSION. i.e. King James Version. Version means different from the original. The books removed by men were because they wanted to violate GOD’s Commands and not be faced with the hypocrisy, consequences, and sin of doing so and lead others to this sinful state for their own comfort. They eliminated personal responsibility for sins, atonement, repentance, penance, and Purgatory to name a few things. We all have Free Will and they will face GOD someday. Protestants follow the tradition of divorce and that it is OK to Kill your wife so you can marry another as leaders of the Protestant Church have done over and over. How can Protestants call themselves Christians and spew hatred for Catholics from the pulpit? But, then again, anyone can declare themselves a Protestant Minister and without any supervision be a one person church and claim anything their minds can think of to anyone who will listen. Simply because some self ordained minister has taught you and many others blindly repeat it does not make it the truth. We all are praying for you and for the conversion of your hearts and souls.

  32. Ncunyiswa Hans Reply

    Proud Catholic – Thank you Lord for calling me in this family!

  33. Melinda Ortega Reply

    I was born Catholic and I will die Catholic in God’s grace, In Jesus Name. Amen.

  34. Bill Reply

    You do not have to be Catholic to Baptize in an emergency. The Baptizee must have the desire, and the Baptizer must use the proper matter and form.

  35. JoAnne Reply

    I am a protestant, and loved my visit to the Vatican. We did not see the Pope, but had a fantastic guide, and joined others to pray in a little chapel, and also prayed when I touched the foot of a statue, I believe was Peter? Not certain, but I felt important about a personal prayer request to stand in line there. I believe Protestants and Catholics have much more in common than is recognized. My visit was a wonderful experience, very inspiring and memorable. One of the things the Catholics have I wish we did was the kneeling to pray. Living in Louisiana, I have many Catholic Christian friends, we worship the same God, just in different ways.

  36. Zama Ndefru Reply

    Bill Giers; thanks a lot for your reaction. My writing here is definitely NOT about me. You do not have a clue of who I am and I will not dignify the insults to attempt to address the personal attacks you put against me. The question here is about getting Catholics better understand more about the mass they attend daily or weekly. You support those who make money on the back of the Church or in its name against those who are particularly interested in getting Catholics get a better understanding and articulate aspects of the Holy Mass they have robotically and been doing for so so long.

    Mr. Giers, your focus is on a Catholic Church that caters for the survival of the fittest like you and the rest can go to hell. If this is really your thinking, as it comes across, you are in the WRONG Catholic Church and one that really needs re-education.

    Recently, one of the priests in my parish has taken upon himself to devote at least half his sermons on Sundays to get attendees understand what is going on in the Holy Mass from start to finish. Some Sundays he devotes all to telling the congregation only about what is going on at Mass.

    I LOVE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND WISH THE ENTIRE WORLD WERE CATHOLIC. Catholicism cannot and will not be advanced in a sea of ignoramus of those that practice the faith; an aspect you do not seem to see. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY has to be sacrificed to the spreading of the gospel or making the Church stronger a la Giers. I beg to differ.

  37. teodoro emotin, iv Reply

    I learn more about our faith, thank you very much.

  38. indaycheap Reply

    Zama Ndefru, better bring it out to your local parish, because generally the parishes have all the value formation programs / seminars / recollections / bible study programs / catechism / religious articles distribution that are being funded by local parish funds / donors / sponsorship / solicitations from rich generous donors for free to those who cannot afford to supply what he/she needs as advancement of his / her spirituality. If there’s a will there’s a way for those souls who are eager to seek God.

  39. Pingback: Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn’t Know! – ~ Fr Jordan Francis † Presiding Bishop of the Universal One Church | Universal One Church - Universal Church

  40. Mimi Morales Reply

    Proud to be ….Thanks for sharing…:)

  41. sandy Reply

    I am proud to be catholic

  42. Hilda Carter Reply

    I am proud to be a catholic too but not proud what our catholic hospitals for example are guility of. Regardless of how sick or the necessity of health care, they will not treat you or accept you as a patient. In some serious death threatening situations, they may provide basic treatment and release you without any additional care.

  43. Rick Reply

    We love the Catholic church, praise Jesus Christ, God, our Father and the Holy Spirit. very proud to be catholic

  44. David Pollard Reply

    For some seven six centuries, the most common catholicism in Great Britain and Ireland was not the Roman Rite but that of the Celtic Church. It was only after the Synod of Whitby that the Roman Rite began to be universally dominant.

    1. dave Reply

      Patrick who evangelized Ireland, was born in the Roman empire and instructed and ordained in the Roman rite, probably at Cannes. After the empire collapsed in about 450 AD, the Celtic Christians were cut off from communication with Rome. During the 200 years or so of separation, both Rome and the Celts evolved their rites. The differences were removed largely in favour of Rome at the Whitby Synod.

  45. dave Reply

    The Coptic Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia had separated long before 1000 AD. Probably nearer 600 AD.

  46. Mark Reply

    The Maronite Rite of the Catholic Church was established in the 5th century. You do not need to be Catholic to perform an emergency baptism. If Luther’s restriction to old testament texts to what was in the Hebrew canon constitutes a theological basis, you are correct.

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