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Monday, 3 August 2015

The Latino Priest Shortage in America

In 2015, only 14% of those men ordained are Latino. In my diocese alone, there are two Latino priests active in ministry, and in this state, there are 168,806 Latinos. Even if I divide this number by four, as there are four dioceses in this state. that means there could be 42,201 Latinos in this diocese.

This information can be found on this site.

The two priests here who are Latino include one who is near 6, or so, and a brand-new priest, who actually was from another state, another diocese, originally.

One must ask the question as to why there are so few men in the priesthood from Latino backgrounds.

Latinos make up 34% of the Catholics in this nation. One can immediately see the discrepancy in the statistics.

One may surmise that Latino children do not come into contact with Latino priests, because of the great shortage. One may surmise that the lack of Latino men finishing college is another problem, as a large number of the ordinands went to college before seminary finishing either a BA or higher degree. One could surmise that the number of ordinands with both parents Catholic, 94%, has something to do with the lack of the nurturing of a vocation.

Perhaps the greatest shock in statistics is the fact that less than half of the ordinands went to Catholic schools-49% of diocesan priests only going to elementary Catholic schools, only 43% going to Catholic high schools, and only 45% going to Catholic colleges. The statistics for religious priests is slightly higher in all categories than for secular, or diocesan priests.

The Catholic school system has failed in providing priests. One may ask why, but the fact that 34% of the Catholics in America are Latino and only 14% of this year's ordinands are Latino, must be a question addressed by all Catholics in America.

Georgetown has another interesting survey here.

Obviously, if there are less and less Latino priests, young boys and men will not meet Latino priests.

But, I do not think this is the problem. The problem is that Hispanic men do not go to college or finish college.

The problem is the lack of Latino men going on for higher education of any type of degree. America is only the 10th country in the world for graduation of students. 10th! And, about 11% of Hispanics (Latinos) graduate from college, even in 2014 with the vast majority of Hispanics graduating being Latinas, the women, not the men, leading the statistics. See the second chart.

In addition to the enrollment chart, one must know that Latinas graduate at a higher number than Latinos.

Here is one California statistic on graduating Hispanic men and women.

Men and women of the same race graduate at similar rates in the CSU system. The numbers fluctuate among men and women from separate races, according to a Campaign for College Opportunity study.

Of the four races discussed in the study, Latinos showed the largest percentage difference with 47 percent of women graduating compared to 39 percent of men. White women graduate at the highest rate at 61 percent, while only 55 percent of white men graduate.

The report also found that for every 100 Black women who graduate from a CSU, only 45 Black men do the same. Also, for every 100 Latina women that graduate, only 51 Latino men receive a degree.

These statistics will effect the number of men who go into the seminary or desire to go in. How dioceses can encourage young Latino men to go and to finish college may be part of the problem.

But, as 94% of the ordinands noted, both parents of this great majority are Catholic. Maybe this is the real issue. Something for dioceses to consider, as the lack of Latino priests will only exacerbate the problem.

Here is one diocese's statistics revealing the priest shortage, which is repeated in most places in America.

104, 300 Catholics, in an overall population of 784,000. 94 diocesan priests, and 3 religious priests.

1,075 Catholics per priest.

But, in England and Wales, there is one priest per 740 Catholics, but much less in the rural dioceses.

In the entire world, in 2012, there were 414,313 Catholic priests, total with an estimated 1.76 billion Catholics, including those most likely in China and Korea. You can do the math.

Why we should all be praying and encouraging young men to become priests.