Hope From Africa

Here's Zenit on the latest Church demographic report (see "Statistics Reveal. . ."). No one will be surprised to find the Church's great hope right now is in Africa and her great challenge soul-less (both senses) Europe. Is RC2 crazy to find the following heartening in a strange way?
"In the year 2003, baptized faithful in the Old World numbered almost 280 million -- an increase of some 13 million with respect to 1978, and just over 300,000 with respect to 1988. 'This stagnation is due almost exclusively to the well-known European demographic situation, where the population is not growing; what is more, a clear decrease is foreseen over the next decades,' says L'Osservatore Romano. However, the percentage of Catholics in Europe has virtually remained unchanged over the past 25 years: decreasing from 40.5% to 39.6%."
This report doesn't say how many of that 40% is practicing. RC2's spy-priest in Vienna says that close to 95% of the city is technically Catholic, but fewer than 2% darken a Church door on Sunday, and those that do have bald heads or blue ones --so we can guess it's not many. Still, RC2 is heartened that our numbers in Europe are still that good --however qualified a "good" that may be. If our numbers are falling at the pace of de-population and no faster, that suggests a "remnant" clinging to its faith at some level. And that is a place for Benedict to begin the European Campaign at World Youth Day this summer in Cologne!