VATICAN (CWN) -- The Annuario Pontificio, the annual directory of the worldwide Catholic Church, was formally presented to Pope John Paul II yesterday morning.

      This year's edition of the Annuario includes a listing of the latest members of the College of Cardinals, who were elevated to that rank by the Pope on February 21.

      There were 161 new bishops named during 1997, bringing the worldwide total up to 4,257. The total number of priests at the time of publication was 404,336; of these roughly 65 percent are diocesan priests, while 35 percent belong to religious orders. The number of diocesan priests increased slightly last year, while the number of religious priests declined. Overall, the number of priestly ordinations in 1997 was 6.7 percent higher than it had been five years earlier, in 1992.

      The Annuario lists all of the 166 governments which enjoy full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, including those which established such ties during the past year: Angola, Guyana, and Libya.

      The volume also lists one new archepiscopal see, 17 new dioceses, one apostolic exarchate, one territorial prelature, one military ordinariate, and one apostolic prefecture.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

March 18, 1998 volume 9, no. 55         DAILY CATHOLIC