Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Philippines: Largest English-speaking Catholic Country

OK, saying that it is the largest English-speaking Catholic country is using a bit too many qualifiers. Afterall, how many English-speaking, majority Catholic countries are there?

But do you even know how big the Philippines is?

It is, to put it simply, large, if not very large, especially by historical standards.

It is the 12th largest country in the world by population, the fourth largest Christian country, and the third largest Catholic country. It is bigger than any country in Europe (Russia excluded), bigger than any country in South America but one, and bigger than any country in Africa but one. Manila, the 5th largest city in the world by some definitions–a megacity–is bigger than 75% of all countries and territories. The Philippines is even more populous than the Roman Empire at the time of Christ, perhaps twice the size.

The size of the population is one thing. But what about the size of the economy? It is in the top quartile roughly if using nominal GDP (48 out of 181) and in the top quintile if using purchase-power-parity GDP (36 out of 180). If there was a G50, the Philippines would be there.

So, are you one of those people who think that the Philippines is a small country in a far corner of the world? Please stop. Facts prove otherwise.

Yes, the Philippines is not a Great Power. It is not even the biggest country in the neighborhood. But it is a major country which influences the world, and its influence will only grow as it and Asia grows.

It is especially important within the Catholic Church and particularly among English-speaking Catholics. The Philippines has and will continue to have significant if secondary role in the future of Anglican Use.

Image: Makati skyline, Metro Manila, Wikipedia Commons


  1. Philippines is the 72nd largest country

  2. Physically, yes it comes in at 72, which is still pretty big. It is larger than 2/3 of the countries.

    But that is not what people mean when they talk about "large countries."

    When people talk of countries they usually mean the people. When they talk about large countries they usually mean the number of people. If someone said "I come from the largest country in North America," would you think Canada or the United States? If someone said "the largest country of the Middle East", would you think Saudi Arabia or Egypt? People would say the largest country in North America is the US and that Egypt is larger than Saudi Arabia. When it comes to countries, physical size is less important that population size and the size of the economy. It is the later two which gives a country its influence.


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