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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Bad news about ordinations from an interesting source

I am doing a bit of research on the lack of vocations in the Western world.
Here is a bit of what I have found so far. Anne Hendershott, Ph.D.  
and Christopher White did the article.
In Full Pews and Empty Altars, authors Richard Schoenherr and Lawrence Young suggest that dioceses with large percentages of Hispanic residents report significantly lower rates of ordinations. There is some support for that assertion in the recently released 2011 Survey of Ordinands to the Priesthood conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. Commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, this survey found that although Hispanics/Latinos constitute approximately 34 percent of adult Catholics in the United States, they only comprise 15 percent of ordinands in 2011. In contrast, Caucasian/European American/Whites make up 69 percent of those ordained in 2011, and 58 percent of adult Catholics nationally. Asians/Pacific Islanders constitute only 4 percent of United States Catholics overall, but make up 10 percent of those ordained in 2011, and African/African American/Blacks comprise 3 percent of all adult Catholics nationally, but make up 5 percent of ordinands in 2011.
The lower rates of ordination by Hispanics might help us understand the low rates of ordinations in a diocese like El Paso, Texas. But when looking at the rates of ordinations throughout the 178 dioceses in the United States, there are some dioceses with large numbers of Hispanics in the population and large numbers of ordinations as well. In the Corpus Christi, Texas diocese, for example, there were seven ordinations to the priesthood in 2010. Corpus Christi is a diocese where Catholics–the majority of them Hispanic Catholics–comprise more than half of the total population of 558,831 (70 percent).

And, here is more:
In 1996, Archbishop Elden Curtiss, then the leader of the Omaha, Nebraska diocese, published an article titled “Crisis in Vocations? What Crisis?” in which he asserted, “When dioceses and religious communities are unambiguous about the ordained priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these calls; when there is strong support for vocations, and a minimum of dissent about the male celibate priesthood and religious life, loyal to the Magisterium; when the bishop, priests, religious, and lay people are united in vocation ministry–then there are documented increases in the numbers of candidates who respond to the call.”
In his article, Archbishop Curtiss cited “The Churching of America, 1776-1990,” a sociological study published by Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, which points out that the more a religious organization compromises with society and the world, blurring its identity and modifying its teaching and ethics, the more it will decline. Archbishop Curtiss writes: “Religious organizations are stronger to the degree that they impose significant costs in terms of sacrifice and even stigma upon their members…I am convinced that shortages of vocations in any part of the country can be reversed by people who share enthusiastically in the agenda of the Church. We have to learn from the dioceses and communities which are experiencing an increase in vocations.… Young people do not want to commit themselves to dioceses or communities that permit or simply ignore dissent from Church doctrine.”
For Archbishop Curtiss, “the vocation crisis was precipitated and continued by people who want to change the Church’s agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teaching of the pope and bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines the ministries.”