The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests and permanent deacons rose slightly in 2013 while the number of men and women in religious orders declined, according to Vatican statistics.
For the second year in a row, the number of candidates for the priesthood also decreased.
The numbers come from the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which was completed in February and published in March. The yearbook reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2013.
By the end of 2013, the worldwide Catholic population had surpassed 1.253 billion, an increase of about 25 million or 2 percent, modestly outpacing the global population growth rate, which was estimated at 1 percent in 2013.
Catholics as a percentage of the global population was up less than a percentage point at around 17.7 percent.