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Number of U.S. Catholics, deacons up; priests, religious down
Catholic News.com ^ | 7-16-04 | Jerry Filteau

Posted on 07/20/2004 9:08:41 AM PDT by Salvation

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To: Salvation

**Of course, that would only apply if the bishops gave a [-----].**

>>And maybe some bishops do really care and do tell the truth. Can we really put them into one general category such as "non-caring" here?<<

I suppose I could've said, "Of course that would only apply if each bishop gave a damn." I have little doubt that there are many atheists, anti-Christians, and worse in the episcopate*, but I do not mean to assert that the episcopate, as a whole, does not care about the flock; that assertion would be slanderous against the body of Christ.

(* You don't have to believe the wild-eyed stories about Cdl. Bernadin's alleged Satanism to see how hard he worked to destroy Catholicism. And I've seen much atheist doctrine pumped out of seminaries. Bishop Wcela of Rockville Center, for instance, denied the resurrection.)


51 posted on 07/21/2004 7:47:55 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

Including illegal immigration, there probably are about 1.7 million immigrants per year. I doubt that immigrants are only 15% Catholic, given the countries that they are from.


52 posted on 07/21/2004 7:51:44 AM PDT by dangus
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To: dangus
Thor, that is quite misleading
As someone who has in a position to know as a layman, I will repeat: each parish pays a "tax" or assessment to the Bishop. This has nothing to do with any sort of annual appeal. In the Arch of NY it is called "Interparish Finance". This "tax" is levied on all parishes, based upon their annual reported gross receipts from all fund raising. Those parishes which are wealthier do not get any of the monies back. Those parishes which are "on the dole" either for a subsidy to their operational expenses, or for capital improvements, get the money back - and then some, either in the form or loans (at interest) or outright grants.
There is a very serious question about the morality of the diocese charging a parish interest on a loan. Firstly, it is immoral on a purely scriptural basis. Secondly, the money "loaned to a parish", is actually the dollars of the parishioners (either channeled through the "tax" or the annual diocesan appeal, or both). So the people of a parish are saddled with paying interest on a loan, which was their money in the first place! This is morally and ethically questionable - to say the least! i would quarrel that parishes are obligated to pay back such "loans" - much less any interest on them, as it was their money in the first place! The whole thing reeks of "scam".
Want another scam? You are usually required to go through the diocesan building commission for approval to do capital improvement/repair jobs. They will give you a contractor of questionable work ethics (you usually have no choice in the selection of the contractor), who will charge a grossly inflated price for the job. On top of that price, your parish must pay a 5% fee to the Building Commission for their "services!
Please do not even "go there" on the subject of parish closings -it is immoral.
Annual Diocesan appeals are quite another issue. Each parish is assessed a goal based on past performance - period. The pastor is expected to make this goal, or face reprisals & investigations into the parish finances. I have known of priests in poorer parishes who literally tool cash from their pockets - or had family members chip in - so they could meet the goal. As much as such appeals may be necessary, there is nothing fair or equitable about the goals for poorer parishes.
The worth of the existence of a parish should never be determined in $$$. A mission parish with few souls attending it is precious in the sight of God - one soul is precious in the sight of God!
As one who has worked in this field, has seen books, bills etc., I know well whereof I speak.
Regarding the morality of diocesan financing and "taxing parishes", it is a nasty business. In a way it is as immoral as foreign debt! This, combined with the rampant stealing by pastors (which happens much more often then most people are aware), is robbing parishes - is robbing the faithful. In my opinion, anyone who find these above enumerated practices to be morally permissible is in need of an examination of conscience. The patrimony of the church belongs to "the people" who contribute to make it a reality. Priests and prelates are caretakers of that patrimony - it is not their plaything, toy, exclusive province, nor is it an investment opportunity!
53 posted on 07/21/2004 10:59:40 AM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
You know, there are few neighborhoods in NYC I would not venture into. Most of those, like Bedford-Stuyvesant, have very, very, very, few Catholics.
Yes, that is very true - but that is the failure of the Bishops of the Brooklyn Diocese to evangelize the Black and Hispanics in those area. Regarding Black Catholics - they don't exist for the predominantly Irish clergy....neither in the 19th century, nor today. It is an accepted "fact that black folk are not Catholic - so the clergy do not even seriously try to reach out to them. Those of them who wanted traditional liturgy have for the most part become Episcopalian. Still others, finding no welcome in the Catholic church, have gone to Protestant denominations, where there was more social acceptance. Where there are Black Catholic parishes, the clergy encourage the most disrespectful type of "low church" nonsense possible as they think that blacks "want it that way"! This is of course an insult to the intelligence and dignity of Black persons. Such Black parishes resemble the "Grand Hallelujah Tabernacle" more than a Latin rite church!
With regard to actual raw statistical data about parish ethnicity - there is none! The "Status Annuarium" does not ask you to count how many black, Asian, Hispanic or other you have attending. Just total mass attendance. How many masses do you have in a language other then English - other sacraments/services in a language other then English. If percentages are asked - at all - these are of course the "rough guesses" of the pastor.
So, if we have 300 souls at the Spanish Mass on Sunday, how many Hispanics come to mass on Sunday? Answer: maybe as many as 500. This is because you will have some percentage of Hispanics who prefer to attend an English mass. Even if it is a small percentage, it is usually not considered.
And I will totally agree that there are wide variations in mass attendance of Hispanics depending on the region. AND also depending on the exact nationality of the Hispanics in question!
54 posted on 07/21/2004 11:24:18 AM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: thor76
With regard to actual raw statistical data about parish ethnicity - there is none! The "Status Annuarium" does not ask you to count how many black, Asian, Hispanic or other you have attending.

Its relatively straightforward to compare total parish registration versus the census profile of the parish boundaries. In neighborhoods where one ethnicity predominates with 90% or more of the population, this makes it very easy to determine how many roughly of the dominant group are registered. My own archdiocese, Philadelphia, does this on their website. They also break down Parish registration by ethnicity.

See here:

http://www.archdiocese-phl.org/parishes/index.html

Pick an area then a Parish, then click on Census Report 2 under each Parish. For example, St. Hugh of Cluny, in the heart of the Barrio, has 3860 Hispanics registered, who represent just 32% of the total living in the Parish's boundaries.

If you add up the number of registered Hispanics in the city versus the number actually residing in the city, you will readily find it is but a small fraction of the total. (Of course, the same thing can frequently be said about other supposedly Catholic ethnic groups, such as the Irish.)

I agree with your comments about the jitterbug liturgies offered to blacks. I knew many blacks in Philadelphia who were of the High Church mindset, and they were almost all Episcopalian. The domination of the Irish around here hardly helps.

55 posted on 07/21/2004 11:52:04 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: thor76

I will believe you if you assert there is such a thing as "interparish finance" in the New York (arch)diocese, but it is even only within the diocese itself, and not in the Rockville Center diocese, which falls under the NY archdiocese. What you describe may be a fairly unique circumstance, given the very drastic wealth discrepancies in NYC, and the fact that parishes in NYC cover such tiny geographic areas. (Manhattan has a population density four times any city or county outside New York in America.)

As for the diocese taking "the parish's" money, you talk like a Calvinist! Once that money is put in the collection basket, it is the diocese's. Parishes are not separate little corporations. Like any large organization, each division has its own budget and its own accounts and its own responsibilities, but the whole diocese is all, ultimately, one source.

So, yes, there's a building commission. And there should be. The diocese has every right to make sure its not going to have to bail out a parish which could not afford to pay the debts in incurs when it begins to build.

Your a bit of an expert on your parish's finances are you? Take a look at a diocesan budget. See where the money goes. Here in the Arlington diocese, the vast majority goes to... building new churches! Go find out who footed the bill for your parish's original church. Here's a hint: mission parishes don't have any capital.

If any priest is stealing money from his church, that is an obvous horrible scandal. But should a diocese be forced to redistribute monies among its branches er, parishes, that's not stealing.


56 posted on 07/21/2004 12:20:05 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
OK - given the lack of real "raw" numbers (i.e. exactly how many whites, blacks, Hispanics, etc. actually attend mass in a parish), your method would yield some interesting answers - but not entirely accurate ones. This is not your fault, or anyone else's. One must realize that census data is far from being 100% accurate for the simple reason that everybody does not answer the census, much less honestly. If I were a family of illegal aliens I would probably not answer it out of fear - many do this. Some do not give truthful responses because they resent the increasingly complicated and invasive questions asked. Heck - I personally never got a form in the last two censuses!!! Nobody came to my door either!
Also we still have the issue of unregistered parishioners. I have been one of those, and I know I am not alone..."known but to God"! Also, I am one of many Catholics who does not live in the boundaries of the church I attend mass at. And I am certainly not alone in that!
However, I accept what you say as a way - flawed though it may be - of determining the ethnic breakdown of parish populations, as these methods you raise are the best available.
57 posted on 07/21/2004 2:56:39 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: Salvation
I'm wondering if you are aware of the three levels of Holy Orders:
Diaconate
Priesthood
Episcopacy

Yes I am.

Why are you so negative about them?

Because I assoicate their Vatican II restoration and rise (along w/their mentor Priests) with the cheery dilution of the Faith.

But here are some Deacons I'm not negative about at all:

St. Stephen
One of the first deacons and the first Christian martyr; feast on 26 December.

In the Acts of the Apostles the name of St. Stephen occurs for the first time on the occasion of the appointment of the first deacons (Acts, vi, 5). Dissatisfaction concerning the distribution of alms from the community's fund having arisen in the Church, seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first mentioned and the best known.

Stephen's life previous to this appointment remains for us almost entirely in the dark. His name is Greek and suggests he was a Hellenist, i.e., one of those Jews who had been born in some foreign land and whose native tongue was Greek; however, according to a fifth century tradition, the name Stephanos was only a Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil (Syr. kelila, crown), which may be the martyr's original name and was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb.

It seems that Stephen was not a proselyte, for the fact that Nicolas is the only one of the seven designated as such makes it almost certain that the others were Jews by birth.

His ministry as deacon appears to have been mostly among the Hellenist converts with whom the Apostles were at first less familiar; and the fact that the opposition he met with sprang up in the synagogues of the "Libertines" (probably the children of Jews taken captive to Rome by Pompey in 63 B. C. and freed hence the name Libertini), and "of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia" shows that he usually preached among the Hellenist Jews.

Stephen's preaching so inflamed a crowd of devout Jews, they bore false witness against him claiming he had blasphemed against Moses and God. The angry mob brought him outside the city walls where he was stoned to death.

St. Lawrence
Martyr; died 10 August, 258.
St. Lawrence, one of the deacons of the Roman Church, was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258, like Pope Sixtus II and many other members of the Roman clergy.

At the beginning of the month of August, 258, the emperor issued an edict, commanding that all bishops, priests, and deacons should immediately be put to death.

This imperial command was immediately carried out in Rome. On 6 August Pope Sixtus II was apprehended in one of the catacombs. When Pope Sixtus II was led away to his death, he comforted Lawrence, who wished to share his martyrdom, by saying that he would follow him in three days.

The Emporer, knowing that Lawrence administered the treasure of the church, demanded that Lawrence produce the treasure. Lawrence told the Emporer it would take four days to collect the treasure. Four days later, When St. Lawrence was asked for the treasure, he brought forward the poor, among whom he had divided the treasure, in place of alms.

This so enraged the Emporer that he ordered Lawrence to be roasted slowly over a fire.

on the 10th of August of that same year, Lawrence, the last of the seven deacons, suffered a martyr's death by being slowly roasted on a gridiron.

St. Ephrem
St. Ephrem was born agt Nisibis, Mesopotamia in 306 A.D. He was baptized at 18 and served under St. James of Nisibis, became head of his school, and probably accompanied him to the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. When Nisibis was ceded to the Persians by Emporer Jovian in 363, he took refuge in a cave near Edessa in Roman territory, and often preached to the Christian community there. He did most of his writing here. Tradition has it that he visited St. Basil in Caeserea in 370, and upon his return, helped to alleviate the rigors of the famine of 372-373, by distributing food and money to the stricken and poor. He died at Edessa on June 9, 373. Ephraem wrote volumously in Syriac on many themes drawing heavily on scriptural sources. He wrote against the heretics, especially the Gnostics. He was devoted to the Blessed Virgin (he is often invoked as a witness to the Immaculate Conception because of his absolute certainty of Mary's sinlessness). He was responsible in large measure for introducing hymns into public worship, and used them effectively in religious instruction. His works were translated into Greek, Armenian, and Latin. He is called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit", and in 1920 Pope Benedict XV declared him a Doctor of the Church. He is the only Syrian to be so honored.

St. Vincent of Saragossa
St. Vincent, the protmartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the 3rd century. Together with his bishop, Valerius of Saragossa, he was apprehended during a persecution of Dacian the governor of Spain. Valerius was banished but Vincent was subjected to fierce tortures because he refused to sacrifice to pagan gods, and surrender the sacred books of the Church. According to the details of his death, his flesh was pierced with iron hooks, he was bound upon a red hot gridiron, and roasted, then was cast into prison and laid on a floor strewn with broken pottery. But through it all his constancy remained unmoved (leading to his jailor's conversion). He survived until his friends were allowed to see him, and prepare a bed for him, upon which he died. He died on January 22, 304 A.D.

St. Benjamin
St. Benjamin was imprisoned for preaching Christianity during the persecution of Yezdigerd of Persia and his son Varanes. Benjamin was released at the intercession of the Emporer of Constantinople, who promised he would stop preaching. As soon as he was released he again began preaching, was arrested and tortured, and then was impaled when he refused to agree to stop his preaching if released again. He died on March 31, 421 A.D.

St. Euplius
On August 12, 304 A.D., during the persecution of Diocletian at Catania, in Sicily, a deacon named Euplius was brought to the governor's hall and staunchly professed his faith. With the Book of Gospels in his hand, he was called before the governor Calvisian and commanded to read from it. The saint read the passage: "Blest are they who suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Euplius then read the passage: "If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Questioned by the governor as to what this meant, the youth replied: "It is the law of my Lord, which has been delivered to me." Calvisian asked: "By whom?" Euplius replied: "By Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God." With that, the governor ordered that he be led away to be tortured. At the height of his torment Euplius was asked if he still persisted in Christianity. The saintly youth answered: "What I said before, I say again: I am a Christian and I read the Sacred Scriptures." The governor realized that he would never give up his faith, and ordered him to be beheaded. St. Euplius died April 29, 304 A.D., praising God all the while.

58 posted on 07/21/2004 3:22:43 PM PDT by AlbionGirl ("The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.")
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To: dangus; HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
I will believe you if you assert there is such a thing as "inter-parish finance"
Now that I have finished laughing hysterically, why would you imply that I would make something like this up? If you think I did, then call them up and ask them if they are fake.
IPF was the creation of then Cardinal Spellman some 50 years ago. At that time, due to one of the first waves of white flight from the inner cities, some formerly prosperous parishes were now having revenue problems. The initial concept - to take from the rich parishes and give to the poorer ones was good - in theory. What it has developed into is another matter.
How were the parish churches here funded? In the 19th century, if a new parish was carved out of an older one, sometimes "seed money" was given by the "mother" parish. Sometimes the Archbishop would give a similar "seed" gift. Most of the rest of the funds were raised literally from the pennies of the poor (and a few wealthy benefactors). There were times when a pastor had to borrow money from a bank - usually the Emigrant Savings bank, which was partially founded by Archbishop John Hughes for this purpose, and to assist new immigrants. So churches of that era might have had a small mortgage. When it was paid off, and the church was debt free, the building was formerly consecrated - a moment of great joy for the parish! Due to the sheer numbers of contributors, and their eagerness to see such a goal be a reality, most building mortgages were paid off quickly. Please note that Hughes & his immediate successors GAVE money to start off new parishes - they did not lend at interest!
It was Spellman who got the diocese into the usury business. He instigated a vast building campaign. A pastor who built a building got to be a monsignor automatically! Usually this was done by saddling the parish with a large debt to the chancery office. Some of those debts from the post war era have never been paid off, as the population base quickly fled in the turmoil of the 60s and 70s. This leaves today's fractional size congregations with monstrous debt payments - which by all right should be forgiven by the bishop. They simply make no sense. If a bishop raises capital for a building campaign, he should not be lending it at interest!
It also must be clearly understood that Spellman raised money for his building campaign not merely from a normal appeal, nor just from wealthy benefactors. He literally strong-armed the money out of the pastors! He would go to a pastor and virtually demand the surplus savings of the parish (raised by the people for THAT parish), and commandeered it for his building program. Usually it took the form of a "loan" to the diocese.
In one case I know of, the pastor of one parish, hoping to curry favor with Spellman, loaned him $500,000 - a huge sum in the late 50's! Some 15 years later the next pastor, inherited a very poor parish, with very few people, went to the chancery office with a copy of Spellman's letter, acknowledging the loan. He had many bills & repairs to take care of and desperately needed the money. The chancery basically told him to go booty poke himself! the parish never got the money back! So much for diocesan ethics!
Which brings me to a point of law. According to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of NY, each Roman Catholic Parish is a corporation. It is run by a five man board of trustees: President - the Archbishop of NY; Vice President - Vicar General; Secretary - Pastor; and two lay trustees nominated by the pastor and approved by the archbishop. They are independent corporations under law. Diocesan control under civil law is effected through an interlocking directorate. All parish real property is deeded to the Archdiocese of NY. The parish monies remain in the treasury of the parish corporation, and are the property of the parish.
Now as to canon law, and Vatican directives, neither the local pastor, nor the bishop "own" the property or the fiscal assets. These belong to the church - they hold it as the patrimony of the church in a fiduciary responsibility.
But the money, real property etc., is truly the patrimony of the people of the parish. According to a much ignored Vatican directive, every parish is to have a finance committee, to oversee the finances of the parish. This is NOT a parish council. this committee is to have real power in decision making regarding the assets and fiscal management of the parish. It is to protect the people's interests, and to assist (and protect) the pastor by a sharing of responsibility. A similar set up is to exist at the diocesan level - with open accounting.......which you will never see!
The point of this is that parishes are in fact independant corporations. There is diocesan control & supervision. But the patrimony of the church belongs to the people - it is "held in trust for" by the clergy.
As to the building commission - I should point out that they stick their fingers into every little repair which is made. As per the policies I outlined in my previous post, there is no moral justification for such practices.
Diocesan finances? At least locally, I would call it a black hole for money. Far too much is wasted on left-wing and other dubious agendas. Like....er.....clergy salaries!
59 posted on 07/21/2004 4:12:14 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: thor76

Paragraphs are our frieds........please.


60 posted on 07/21/2004 6:04:10 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: AlbionGirl

Those are some excellent examples of deacons ---

**Because I assoicate their Vatican II restoration and rise (along w/their mentor Priests) with the cheery dilution of the Faith.**

How can you be the judge, jury, etc. You are condemning deacons as though you held the keys to the kingdom.

And I don't think that you can put all present-day deacons into your faulty description either.


61 posted on 07/21/2004 6:07:28 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I don't remember issuing a judgement, just expressing an observation. I'm well aware that there are good deacons out there.


62 posted on 07/21/2004 6:37:40 PM PDT by AlbionGirl ("And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (Col. 3:14)
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To: Salvation

Paragraphs are our frieds........
Uh......ok.....what's a fried?


63 posted on 07/21/2004 6:59:55 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: thor76
Manhattan/aka New York County is the most Secular borough/county in the states and is filled with empty Churches. The Churches on Lawn Guyland are largely filled with Senior Citizens these days. Pretty much all of my friends and most of my family don't go to mass. Many of the Latinos I know are either Protestants (especially Dominicans and Puerto Ricans) or nonreligious. Any pastor in a Hispanic neighborhood will tell you the struggle it is to get people to get to mass.

The Catholic Church should sell many of its Churches in the northeast and use the money for grass roots evangelization.

64 posted on 07/21/2004 10:29:09 PM PDT by Clemenza
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To: thor76

No method is perfect, but a large enough sample will give a good indication.

BTW, when I lived in NYC, I lived on W. 74th St., but was registered at Corpus Christi up by Columbia on 122nd St.


65 posted on 07/22/2004 4:45:02 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: thor76

>> Now that I have finished laughing hysterically, why would you imply that I would make something like this up? If you think I did, then call them up and ask them if they are fake.<<

Thanks for the information... it was very interesting.

What I am saying is that what you have stated is directly contrary to my experience seeing parish budgets, but I accept the claim you make in the NY diocese. If I had meant to call you a liar, I would have, but I did not mean to.

From what you say, it does sound like the NY diocese is, in fact, an irregular situation brought about by the peculiar circumstances of NY, though, sadly, I have no doubt such a thing once "innovated" was probably widely copied.

I also now recall the rather obvious fact that the Rockville-Center diocese parish I referred to is likely an excpetion in the diocese: It was run by Franciscans.


66 posted on 07/22/2004 8:01:51 AM PDT by dangus
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
500 ordinations times 40 years is a rough number for predicting the future number of Priests at plateau if trends continue (the 40 years accounts for defections). That would be 20,000. However, there is reason to hope that the number will rise somewhat with no other actions taken.

Your numbers make sense at first glance, but there are a couple of points that should be born in mind.

1. The numbers you give need to be adjusted for 2 factors: priestly dropout rate and the age of ordination. The dropout rate over the past couple of decades has been horrendous, but even assuming that the worst of that problem is over (a pretty big assumption considering the present abuse crisis which has not finished playing out), still there will be a dropout rate which is more than negligible. Secondly the age of ordination is much higher. 40 years of active service would have been a safe bet a couple decades ago, but today when I see news reports of ordinations, the average age of the ordinands is often around 40.

2. The mathematician who wrote the article "Springtime Decay" on Seattle Catholic would not agree with your hypothesis of a comparatively steady state. He predicts a continuing downward trend, based on the currently available numbers. It's impossible to know who will be proven right, you or the author of "Springtime Decay," but one must at least consider the alternative:

Springtime Decay by David L. Sonnier

67 posted on 07/22/2004 10:05:45 AM PDT by Maximilian
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To: Maximilian; sinkspur
1. The numbers you give need to be adjusted for 2 factors: priestly dropout rate and the age of ordination. The dropout rate over the past couple of decades has been horrendous, but even assuming that the worst of that problem is over (a pretty big assumption considering the present abuse crisis which has not finished playing out),

Actually, the drop-out crisis was ended around 1978 by the Vatican refusing further laicizations. The rate now is pretty low. The rate from 1965-1978 was off the charts.

still there will be a dropout rate which is more than negligible. Secondly the age of ordination is much higher. 40 years of active service would have been a safe bet a couple decades ago, but today when I see news reports of ordinations, the average age of the ordinands is often around 40.

I based 40 years on an average age of 35 at ordination with service until mandatory retirement at age 75. Admittedly, its a rough number, but we don't have much data on age at ordination to go on.

2. The mathematician who wrote the article "Springtime Decay" on Seattle Catholic would not agree with your hypothesis of a comparatively steady state. He predicts a continuing downward trend, based on the currently available numbers. It's impossible to know who will be proven right, you or the author of "Springtime Decay," but one must at least consider the alternative:

I base the steady-state prediction on the fairly stable number of ordinations and drop-outs during the past 25 years (actually, the ordaintions have first risen slightly, as one would expect with the larger cohorts of births from the period of 1957-1967, and then decayed slightly with the smaller cohorts of 1968 on). The decay we are seeing now is that the current ordination class is not replacing the very large ordination classes from the early 1960's (although admittedly, many of these men have dropped out years ago, so its not as bad as one might initially think), and the number of Catholics in the demographic cohort of age for the seminary is smaller than previously.

However, as I pointed out elsewhere, the number of Catholics being born began to rise again in 1988 after 20 years of decline, and has stayed about 15% higher for 15 years now, so in about 15 more years, we will have larger demographic cohorts from which to draw even if the birth rate drops off (which it currently shows no sign of doing). Also in about 15 years, the remaining useful years of service of men from the seminary boom of the 1960's will be over, and we will have mostly the Priests from the steady state period of the mid-1970's onwards. The convergence of these trends, combiend with a rough loss of about 1000 priests per year on average to excess natural mortality and defections during the next 15 years will produce my predicted plateau of 25,000 priests.

The actual number of active Catholics to be served would appear to be holding steady around 15-20 million, as the registered population grows but the percentage attending Mass continus to slowly decline. So we will continue to have more priests per active Catholic than we did in the 1950's, when we had about 35,000 priests for 30 million active Catholics.

The only reason to believe this trend wouldn't come to pass would be a large shift in the aggregate number of active Catholics (up or down).

68 posted on 07/22/2004 10:35:23 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: thor76

NY Archdiocese has literally bankrupted itself with its double-dealing shenanigans with some of these inner city parishes and schools. All in an effort to appear PC.


69 posted on 07/22/2004 10:41:38 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Hermann the Cherusker

NY Archdiocese has literally bankrupted itself with its double-dealing shenanigans with some of these inner city parishes and schools. All in an effort to appear PC.

You have my 1000% agreement on that point! This combined with the rampant stealing (of which the recent revelations of allegations concerning Msgr. John Woolsey are - i can assure you - only the tip of the iceberg), have robbed the piggy bank!

My favorite story regarding one of those inner city parishes "on the dole" is that of a liberal "company man" repeatedly coming back to the IPF with the exact same fuel several times in a row for reimbursement!!!!

Like I said - "tip of the iceberg". Could you please define what you mean by the PC aspect? I think I know what you mean, but am curious to hear your comments.


70 posted on 07/22/2004 10:57:39 AM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: Maximilian

Actually, the drop-out rate is down very sharply throughout the 1990s. Apparently, there was a huge lot of hippies who thought the church was going to become something very different than it is now, and when it did not, they left. The age of the horrendous priestly exodus is over.

By the way, I do not mean to disparage some very good men who left the priesthood for sound reasons.

As for the author of Springtime Decay, the application of exponential rates to any trend always creates laughable situations in the future. He acknowledges that "The last two actual data points are higher than the exponential decay function." From the wording he uses, one gets no sense the last data point is DOUBLE his expected value. And his modified slope corrects for the second-to-last data point, throws other data points off, and still underestimates the final data point.

This is no reason to dance in the aisles, for sure. What's happening is what always happens when you apply a rough exponential formula to actual data. The slope is applicable for some period of time while the highlighted issue remains the dominant factor. As the numbers change drastically, the a different factor assumes dominance, and an inflection point is reached.

This of course supports, rather than dispoves, that there was a very dominant negative factor over the past 40 years. And the emerging significance of a second factor means only future stability, not a trend reversal.


71 posted on 07/22/2004 12:33:05 PM PDT by dangus
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To: Hermann the Cherusker
The only reason to believe this trend wouldn't come to pass would be a large shift in the aggregate number of active Catholics (up or down).

The mathematician who wrote "Springtime Decay" did in fact have another reason to believe a positive trend won't come to pass: analyzing the data for the past 50 years and projecting the curve forward. Only time will tell who is more accurate in their forecast.

Springtime Decay by David L. Sonnier

It is clear that the period from 1965 onward is nonlinear, so a different technique is required for modeling this period. The exponential decrease from 1965 onward appears similar to a graph of radioactive decay; as it turns out, this period can be modeled by what is commonly called an exponential decay function. Since this period of the Church is commonly called the "Springtime," we shall refer to this function as the Springtime Decay Function S(t), where S, the Springtime Decay, is a function of time t. We begin by taking the log of each of the data points. This gives us an essentially linear data set, to which we can match a line as we did previously for the Preconciliar Growth Function.

72 posted on 07/22/2004 12:49:23 PM PDT by Maximilian
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To: dangus
You are probably correct in your assertion that the peculiar financial weirdness there was started as a response to gross financial disparities across the city. And, you are also correct that the IPF concept was copied, to a greater or lesser extent elsewhere.

Probably the greatest single administrative mistake that was made, was that done by the Late Archbishop Thomas Molloy of Brooklyn. He engineered the partitioning off the "gold coast" of Nassau and Suffolk counties into the Diocese of Rockville Center. That was a blunder worthy of Inspector Cluseau of Pink Panther fame!

If the Brooklyn Diocese had all those suburban parishes to fund the populous but poor inner city parishes, things would have been a lot different!

The Arch of NY had planned a similar move many, many years ago - of separating the seven upstate counties into the "diocese of Yonkers". That would have been a literal disaster! Those seven counties are now paying to run everything in the three NYC counties (Bronx, Manhattan, & S.I.). Whew!!!!
73 posted on 07/22/2004 1:59:18 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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To: thor76

PC aspect - the education of non-Catholic minorities being subsidized by Catholic families/parishes from suburban areas and the outer boroughs who are charged a stiff tuition in return. Worse this prevents many Catholics from feeling they can afford as many kids as they would otherwise like to have. Frequent blather about the Church's "commitment" to Inner City education, blah, blah, blah.


74 posted on 07/22/2004 2:03:19 PM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Hermann the Cherusker; HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Frequent blather about the Church's "commitment" to Inner City education, blah, blah, blah.

Yes, yes, yes!!!!! Agreed! Shades of Cardinal O' Connor, the poor fool.

I had almost forgotten about that aspect...and who was responsible for that as Secretary of Education under O' Connor.......and the idea of the "Inner City Scholarship Program........the spending of millions of dollars on educating non Catholic kids at Catholic's expense.......and the major capital appear to raise over $10,000,000 for that???

Why, none other then Edward (fast eddie) Cardinal Egan! But let's also give the credit to that most worshipful master......er......I mean......His Excellency, Archbishop Henry (See if you can figure out what my real agenda is) Mansell, late of NYC, late of the sinking see of Buffalo, now of Hartford, CT !!!!

Can't we just do to them what was done to Captain Bligh - set them adrift in a rowboat?
75 posted on 07/22/2004 2:17:57 PM PDT by thor76 (Vade retro, Draco! Crux sacra sit mihi lux!)
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