Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yeah, but why don't our Catholic High Schools produce more priests?

Urban Catholic archdioceses ordain more priests, but smaller dioceses in the Midwest and Southeast are ordaining more priests per Catholic, according to a recent study.

For example, the Chicago archdiocese ordained 61 priests from 2003 to 2006 and the Alexandria, La., diocese ordained 12 in that time, according to a review by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. That means Chicago produced one priest for every 38,393 Catholics, while Alexandria ordained one per 4,004. The Georgetown center has reviewed the clergy data four times since 1993.

Fargo, N.D., and Lincoln, Neb., have landed in the top five of new-priest-per-Catholic ratios in every review. Atlanta, Bismarck, N.D., Omaha, Neb., Peoria, Ill., and Wichita, Kan., have placed in the top five three times.

Between 2003 and 2006, six dioceses with a total of 450,000 Catholics had no ordinations, and another eight dioceses with almost 1.4 million Catholics had only one each, according to the review.

Rounding out the total ordinations top five from 2003 to 2006: Newark, N.J., with 52, Washington 34, St. Paul-Minneapolis 33, and New York 29. National Catholic Reporter

It's wonderful that we in the upper midwest are doing so much better here than elsewhere. But the demographic that really puzzles Church leaders is why so few of our new young priests are the product of a Catholic education in high school? What does that say about the effort to provide a Catholic education to all of the children going to our Catholic schools?

Are parents wasting their money paying tuition by not getting the educatiion they think they are paying for?


Adrienne said...

I’m not being “snarky” here – just “reporting the news.” We do not have a Catholic High School in our area. The newer elementary school is lovely and turns out polite kids. Does it teach the faith? Not really. It has been watered down to a message of “love Jesus ‘cause He loves you.” That doesn’t foster vocations.

The high school in the neighboring town is run by Jesuits who, while nice enough men, are so far out in left field that it’s a wonder the students remain Catholic let alone become priests.

Anonymous said...

High schools don't produce priests, families do. But then again our "Catholic" high schools do more to "unsell" the vocation than support.