Where do the world's Catholics live?

Here's some context for the chatter today about the region of the world that could produce Pope Benedict XVI's successor. According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, 40 percent of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics currently live in Latin America, and Brazil now has more Catholics (134 million) than Italy, France, and Spain combined. Sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile, accounts for 16 percent of the world's Catholics, compared with Europe's 24 percent. And the numbers in Africa are growing.

For more, check out Pew's map below (click to expand), which shows the distribution of Catholics in the 80 countries that have more than 1 million adherents.

Reprinted from the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, "Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population," © 2011, Pew Research Center.

The numbers explain why there's now speculation that the Roman Catholic Church could look to Africa, Latin America, or North America for its first non-European leader. As the New York Times notes, the outgoing pope -- only the second non-Italian pontiff since the 16th century -- inherited an institution "run by a largely European hierarchy overseeing a faithful largely residing in the developing world." Changing that dynamic is now in the hands of the 118 cardinals who will soon gather in Rome to choose the next pope. But demographics isn't necessarily destiny.

"All of the questions about nationalities are nonsense," Michael Sean Winters, a visiting fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, tells CNN today. "There are 118 men and all of them have gotten to know one another.... Their questions are going to be 'who can we see in that chair?'" Another data point to keep in mind? More than half of those 118 cardinals are European.


Introducing the 2013 Gelber Prize finalists: today's contender, Fredrik Logevall

Over the next few weeks, we're going to be featuring one interview per day with the authors of the books nominated for this year's Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year's best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs. The award is sponsored by the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto in cooperation with Foreign Policy. The interviews are conducted by Rob Steiner, former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School. 

Today's author is Fredrik Logevall. Here's the jury's citation for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam:

In Embers of War, Fredrik Logevall describes the tragedy of Vietnam in the 20th Century, from its invisibility at the 1919 Paris peace conference to its recapture by the French after 1945, and ultimately its sacrifice on the altar of the Cold War in the 1960s. This is an epic tale of missed opportunity, egotism and waste that makes the case for the role of dumbheadedness, more than evil, in the course of human affairs. Deeply detailed and dramatically powerful, Embers of War is a potent cautionary tale.

Listen to the interview here.