UCA News reports the number of Catholic priests worldwide rose from 405,178 in 2000 to 408,024 in 2007, after markedly dropping in the previous two decades, reported Radio Vatican and other media.
The increase for Asia and Africa was 21.2 percent and 27.6 percent respectively. The number of priests in America remained "stable" while Europe and Oceania saw a drop of 6.8 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.
The number of Catholics worldwide grew from 1.131 billion in 2006 to 1.147 billion in 2007. Asia saw an increase of 1.7 percent in this period. The percentage of Catholics worldwide remained stable, at about 17.3 percent of the global population.
The number of bishops worldwide also increased, from 4,898 in 2006 to 4,946 in 2007.
But not everyone sees these figures as a sign of positive growth.
German theologian Fr Hans Kung has said the Catholic Church increasingly threatens to deteriorate into a sect under Pope Benedict, DW World reports.
An emeritus professor of ecumenical theology at the University of Tuebingen in southern Germany, Kung said he was "very sad" over the direction the current Church leadership was taking.