Tuesday, July 31, 2018

More for Rome to worry about. . .

Historically, the numbers of priests in America has declined every year since 1970.  The numbers peaks at about that year.  Note the huge increase in priests in 1950 and how, within 20 years, that number was in decline.  Further, those ordained since 1970 will soon either retire or be too old to serve the increasing population of Roman Catholics.  Look at it this way:
  • In 1950, there was 1 priest to every 652 Catholics in the United States.
  • In 2010, there was 1 priest to every 1,653 Catholics in the United States.
  • In 2016, there was 1 priest to every 1,843 Catholics in the United States.

Take a look at another graph.  This one compares the number of priests to the number of Roman Catholics in the US over the past fifty years or so.  The tipping point came about 1983.

While this is true overall, some individual dioceses have different numbers.  Consider for example:
  • Diocese of Dallas: 1 priest to every 6,229 Catholics.
  • Diocese of Los Angeles: 1 priest to every 3,931 Catholics.
  • Diocese of New York: 1 priest to every 2,055 Catholics.
  • Diocese of Chicago: 1 priest to every 1,624 Catholics.
Meanwhile consider my old home state and the diocese that exceeds the 1950 national ratio of priests to people:
  • Diocese of Lincoln: 1 priest to every 598 Catholics.
The numbers of Jesuits have declined nearly 42% since 1977.  That should be a personal thorn for Jesuit and Pope Francis.

No comment here but just pointing out some cliffs and wondering what Rome will do. . . 


Anonymous said...

The article fails to separate the number of total priests from
active priests. In 1965 the Roman Catholic Church in America
had 58,000 priests, yet only 36,700 were active in a parish.

In 2002, there were 46,000 total priests with only 15,000 active
in a parish.How does the RCC deal with this shortage? Can you
say DEACON? In 1965, there were 1,000 lay deacons, and by 2002,
there were 13,348 lay deacons.

Hopefully someone can get an update on the number of lay deacons
in 2017. The past 15 years has probably seen a big increase.

Anonymous said...

The increased use of lay deacons makes sense. If Rome were to allow priests to marry, then many more people would be attracted to the ministry.

Anonymous said...

There were 18,287 lay deacons in the Roman Catholic Church in
America in 2017

Anonymous said...

And what, pray tell, is a lay Deacon? The diaconate is the first of the three Holy Orders in the traditional structure of the Christian ministry. Deacons are ordained to their office, just as are Priests and Bishops. So what is a lay deacon?

Fr. D+

Chris Jones said...

Fr D,

I'm guessing, but perhaps the commentators who speak of "lay deacons" are thinking of "layman as opposed to professional" rather than "layman as opposed to cleric." If so, then "lay deacon" means a person who exercises ministry in the Church but is not employed by the Church, but has other employment.

It's also true that this is a Lutheran blog and Lutheranism does not recognize any orders or degrees in the office of the Holy Ministry. So among Lutherans, (1) we rarely use the term "deacon", and (2) when we do, it almost always refers to a non-ordained role. When we see a person ministering in the RC Church who is not a priest and therefore cannot celebrate the Eucharist, we tend to think "he's not a real pastor, so he must be a layman."

Unknown said...

What would you expect from a church which no longer holds on to its venerable traditions, especially the Liturgy which became, more or less, a Protestant worship service with some Catholic terminology? The precipitous decline began in the wake of Vatican II's full enforcement. That Catholics are still wondering where it all went wrong just shows that they are not willing to see the truth.