Is there a lack of priests

Is the priest shortage real, and if so, how severe is it?

There were definitely plenty more active priests in the US back in the day.

But since then, mass attendance has dipped, and the number of confessions have dipped even more. Hearing confessions are a lot of work for the priest as they can only do one at a time. There are fewer schools, and less work in the schools for priests to do, and many of the tasks previously done by priests are now done by deacons and layfolk.

Of course , the total number of Catholics continues to rise, so there are an ever increasing number of baptisms, marriages and funerals for the fewer number of priests to do.

Overall, how much of a priest shortage is there really?

[quote=Kielbasi]Is the priest shortage real, and if so, how severe is it?

There were definitely plenty more active priests in the US back in the day.

But since then, mass attendance has dipped, and the number of confessions have dipped even more. Hearing confessions are a lot of work for the priest as they can only do one at a time. There are fewer schools, and less work in the schools for priests to do, and many of the tasks previously done by priests are now done by deacons and layfolk.

Of course , the total number of Catholics continues to rise, so there are an ever increasing number of baptisms, marriages and funerals for the fewer number of priests to do.

Overall, how much of a priest shortage is there really?
[/quote]

Last Saturday, just for a laugh, I went by my parish Church to see just how many showed up for the hour and a half “reconciliation” period. Guess how many?

Fifteen, all of whom appeared to be over forty.

I don’t think the priest was overworked that day.

[quote=palmas85]Last Saturday, just for a laugh, I went by my parish Church to see just how many showed up for the hour and a half “reconciliation” period. Guess how many?

Fifteen, all of whom appeared to be over forty.

I don’t think the priest was overworked that day.
[/quote]

Where there is a shortage of priests, there appears to be an even greater shortage of penitents. Why have priests if there is no work for them anyway?

God is calling the same number of men to the priesthood as He always has. The problem is, many of those young men are ignoring that call for a number of reasons. ahem :o Moving right along…many people have an agenda for phonying up the “priest shortage” in order to get laymen (fyi…a generic term encompassing both men and women) involved in more and more formerly exclusively priestly duties.

Then there’s the married priest and girl priest pushers. And how could the Church even think of excluding homosexuals from the priesthood when there are so few priests to begin with? :rolleyes: It’s amazing how so many “crisises” in the Church can only be solved by adopting liberal nostrums.

[quote=palmas85]Last Saturday, just for a laugh, I went by my parish Church to see just how many showed up for the hour and a half “reconciliation” period. Guess how many?

Fifteen, all of whom appeared to be over forty.

I don’t think the priest was overworked that day.
[/quote]

You mean you don’t think the priest APPEARED overworked.

What you didn’t see was the weddings that he was either doing counseling on, or making other preparations for. The numerous phone calls from people who want him to come visit and about a thousand other tasks that priests deal with in being a pastor of a church.

Also if the only reason you went to your church was “for a laugh”, then you went for the wrong reason.

[quote=Catholic29]Where there is a shortage of priests, there appears to be an even greater shortage of penitents. Why have priests if there is no work for them anyway?
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The more priest we have the more masses can be offered and the more grace this world receives. We need all the good holy priests we can get always and everywhere. Jesus Himself said we should always pray for more priests.

[quote=Dr. Bombay].many people have an agenda for phonying up the “priest shortage” in order to get laymen (fyi…a generic term encompassing both men and women) involved in more and more formerly exclusively priestly duties.

[/quote]

WHo needs these priests anyway. They’re merely presiders at a Last Supper memorial, overrun by “lay ministers” of every stripe; lectoresses, processors, dancers, ‘eucharistic ministers’, and on and on - the “priesthood of the laity”, the triumph of Luther. They are irrelevant in Newchurch!

There certainly is a priestly shortage, at least in our country. There is another thread in this same forum discussing WHY that might be.

When John Paul II because the Supreme Pontiff there were 750 million Catholics in the world. Around 27 years later, when he died there were over **1.1 billion **Catholics in the world.

The Catholic Church continues to grow at impressive rates. We need more priests, period. But you know what else we need more of? Sisters, brothers and deacons.

We need more regular parishioners to attend the Eucharist, celebrate the forgiveness of Christ through the Sacrament of Penance, and to proclaim the Gospel to those they work and live with.

God bless you all,

[quote=Kielbasi]Is the priest shortage real, and if so, how severe is it?

There were definitely plenty more active priests in the US back in the day.

But since then, mass attendance has dipped, and the number of confessions have dipped even more. Hearing confessions are a lot of work for the priest as they can only do one at a time. There are fewer schools, and less work in the schools for priests to do, and many of the tasks previously done by priests are now done by deacons and layfolk.

Of course , the total number of Catholics continues to rise, so there are an ever increasing number of baptisms, marriages and funerals for the fewer number of priests to do.

Overall, how much of a priest shortage is there really?
[/quote]

Oh, I think there is. My Diocese and the one in St. Louis are having to close churches because of a lack of priests. Our associate paster is having to cover 2 other churches to ensure somebody is there to say mass.

I posted this number in the other Priest thread, but just to show you the numbers, two weeks ago my diocease showed a little video.

30 years ago there was 1 Priest to every 500 laypeople.

Today it is 1 Priest to every 1700 laypeople.

The Catholic church is growing rapidly, and it does appear that it would put more strain on a Priest to take care of 1700 people.

They also noted that there were 11 in seminary to become Priests for my diocease. Doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but I guess every bit helps.

Adam

There may be a physical shortage of Priests but to my mind the real crisis is in quality not quantity.

Well, it all depends on what a ‘priest shortage’ means.

Sticking with the United States for now…

If a 'priest shortage means that a Catholic could walk to any number of parishes and expect to find a Mass that fit his or her preference as to the time of day (like might have been the case in times past)… then I guess, yes, there is a priest shortage.

In other parts of the country there are parishes in areas that never used to have them. People who live in those areas have more priests than those who lived there in the past ever did.

If a ‘priest shortage’ means there are enough priests that anyone who decides on a whim that he or she wants access to a priest can expect to find one sitting around waiting to respond… then, yes, there is a priest shortage.

In some parts of the country a person has the opportunity to arrange his or her schedule to meet with a priest in places where that wasn’t previously possible.

In the future will it be more difficult for some areas to provide people the same level of access to priests as there is today? In the near future, almost certainly. But there will be other areas that never have had a local priest that in the future are likely to have one.

Interestingly enough…we have more priests per Catholic than Africa…which has seen a 300% growth in the Catholic population.

I think the priest shortage, to whatever extent it represents a true shortage, is exacerbated by dying parishes. I’m no proponent of mega-parishes, but I also don’t like how many tiny churches insist on remaining distinct entities even after they’ve become shadows of their former selves. In my diocese it is common for a priest to minister to 2-4 parishes as pastor. But some of those parishes may consist of 30 people. If all of the parishes with less than 100 people could be merged with other parishes without forming gigantic congregations, we’d see the number of parishes to priest drastically reduced. For instance, the 4 parishes of East St. Louis are being closed and merged into one parish, which will still have less than 400 parishoners.

I also don’t think the priest to Catholic ratio is helpful if taken only at face value. Yes, there are fewer priests in the world for more Catholics. But some of those are Creasters who only show up for a dose of God twice a year; or, as the Austrians term it, they’re Catholics on paper. I’d like to know what the ratio of priest to PRACTICING Catholic was 50 years ago and how that compares to todays numbers.

[quote=palmas85]Last Saturday, just for a laugh, I went by my parish Church to see just how many showed up for the hour and a half “reconciliation” period. Guess how many?

Fifteen, all of whom appeared to be over forty.

I don’t think the priest was overworked that day.
[/quote]

If 90 minutes is the published schedule for confessions, the priest has to sit in the confessional for 90 minutes, whether anyone comes or not, so he can’t be getting anything else done except catching up on his breviary, reading, etc. Perhaps this priest has the time to give each of those 15 people spiritual direction and counselling, rather than just absolution and a penance. If even one of those persons is coming back to the Church after a 30 year mis-spent life, his time will be well occupied on that day.

[quote=Catholic29]Where there is a shortage of priests, there appears to be an even greater shortage of penitents. Why have priests if there is no work for them anyway?
[/quote]

Not here. In my parish, I have tried to go to confession the past two days in a row with no success. By the time I got there (today, ten minutes before it even started which is the earliest I could make it) the line was nearly spilling out the door. I kind of wondered why the people in the back even stayed. (I go to Mass frequently and there are always several people who don’t make it to confession.)

So then I asked someone if maybe Father stayed after Mass… nope, only the scheduled times. (otherwise he would be swamped.) So I REALLY want to go to confession now but I need to wait till tomorrow at 3:30. I am getting there REALLY early to be the first one, because I am going to pick up a friend at 4. sigh I shouldn’t complain. I am blessed to be Catholic. sometimes it is just so frusterating.

[quote=Fergal]There may be a physical shortage of Priests but to my mind the real crisis is in quality not quantity.
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:amen: Fergal, I couldn’t agree with you more!

According to these stats, there is now a better ratio of priests to active Catholics than there ever was:

Catholics in the U.S.
1965 - 45,600,000
2004 - 64,800,000

Catholics who go to Mass weekly
1965 - 30,500,000 (67% of total)
2004 - 21,400,000 (33% of total)

Diocesan priests
1965 - 35,925
2004 - 28,375

Mass-goers per diocesan priest
1965 - 849
2004 - 754

Source: cara.georgetown.edu/bulletin

[quote=buzzcut]According to these stats, there is now a better ratio of priests to active Catholics than there ever was:

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That’s true, but less active Catholics also require some attention and work from the priests, particularly in the area of funerals and also marriages.

You think that overall, priests are a lot more overworked today, than in the past.

[quote=palmas85]Last Saturday, just for a laugh, I went by my parish Church to see just how many showed up for the hour and a half “reconciliation” period. Guess how many?

Fifteen, all of whom appeared to be over forty.

I don’t think the priest was overworked that day.
[/quote]

Umm 15 people in 90 mins - Yes ?

That averages out at 6 minutes per person - is that too long ?

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