I would prefer actual numbers comparing it to other organizations.

In addition, bonus points if you can demonstrate that the catholic church effectively does the most good or essentially highly efficient with how they spend their money. It is quite irrelevant if someone receives lots of donations but does not spend the money well. None of the links in the following question seemed to work or seemed highly speculative to me (the economist answer).

This question is related. This is is a source I found online; I'm not sure what to think of it though.

  • 2
    That's going to be REALLY difficult. There's often no central agency to which all the local offices of (e.g.) Catholic Charities report all their expenses, let alone a central agency to which all Catholic charitable services report. Aug 4, 2016 at 20:44
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    Hi @William To be really useful, I suggest this question could do with some tailoring. For example, when you say 'largest' do you mean the largest organisation that is in part involved in charity, or do you mean the organisation that expends the most money and/or manpower in charitable service, or do you just mean 'the most successful'? Do you regard missionary work as charity, or is charity some work that benefits the poor? Without guidance to what you mean, answers can cherrypick definitions such as these to prove that any number of organisations are the largest charitable organisations. Aug 4, 2016 at 22:35
  • 4
    Is this perhaps better for Skeptics SE?
    – Joshua
    Aug 5, 2016 at 2:02
  • 1
    On second thoughts is this even on topic here?
    – User 14
    Aug 8, 2016 at 3:41
  • 4
    I suspect it would be on topic at Skeptics.SE, but that doesn't mean it is off-topic here. Aug 9, 2016 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


Three factors enter in to answering this question. Number 1 ). is the Catholic Church a charitable organization?

A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals as well as social well-being (e.g. charitable, educational, religious, or other activities serving the public interest or common good).

According to that definition yes the Catholic Church is a charitable organization.

Number 2 ) how many people make up the Catholic Church?

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, according to Vatican figures. More than 40% of the world's Catholics live in Latin America - but Africa has seen the biggest growth in Catholic congregations in recent years.

That means the charitable organization known as the Catholic Church is 1.2 billion people strong.

Number 3). Is there any other charitable organization that can claim more than 1.2 billion people as members?

No there is not.

Therefore the Catholic Church is in fact the largest charitable organization on earth.

  • 4
    Looking at the wording of the question, it seems clear that "largest" was not intended in terms of membership, but in terms of money spent on charitable activity, or something similar. Aug 7, 2016 at 13:20
  • OP appeared not to know what "largest charity" meant, and this is a very likely meaning. Feb 24, 2017 at 1:52

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