Number of Men Religious in U.S


#1

Can anyone tell me how many consecrated male religious there are in the U.S.A., and if they have a representative organization similar to the LCWR?


#2

There is a Conference of Major Superiors of Men. There’s also a Religious Bothers Conference.

The CMSM say they represent >17,000 religious priests and brothers.


#3

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which is based at Georgetown University, is a reliable source for statistics regarding the Catholic Church in the US. They put the number of religious priests in 2911 as 12,629. They put the number of religious brothers in 2011 as 4,606.
cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html

Those two numbers total as 17,235, which is consistent with the figure in the previous post.


#4

[quote="curlycool89, post:2, topic:281567"]
There is a Conference of Major Superiors of Men. There's also a Religious Bothers Conference.

The CMSM say they represent >17,000 religious priests and brothers.

[/quote]

[quote="Dale_M, post:3, topic:281567"]
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which is based at Georgetown University, is a reliable source for statistics regarding the Catholic Church in the US. They put the number of religious priests in 2911 as 12,629. They put the number of religious brothers in 2011 as 4,606.
cara.georgetown.edu/CARAServices/requestedchurchstats.html

Those two numbers total as 17,235, which is consistent with the figure in the previous post.

[/quote]

What you want to be careful when dealing with these folks and their numbers is how they do their math. They're counting the number of male religious to be at about 17,000.

In truth, this is the number of male religious present in the USA, not the number of American male religious. There are over 25,000 American male religious. Most religious orders are sending more men out of the country than we did in the past. There are about 8,000 American religious living outside the USA, many will probably never come home. About 60% of them are brothers, not priests. There is a greater demand for brothers outside the USA than in the USA. Many brothers are doctors, teachers, engineers, carpenters, electricians, nurses, and also have formation in theology and philosophy. They can run parishes and bring necessary skills to underdeveloped regions.

I lived in a parish with 4 brothers. I was the superior and administrator. The pastor was also one of our brothers, but he covered five parishes over 500 sq miles. He came every few weeks to celebrate mass. We did the baptizing, held Liturgy of the Word, distributed Holy Communion, trained catechists, ran the school, dispensary and one of our brothers was an engineer, so he taught the local people to build drainage canals to take away human waste. I was brought back, because I was pretty useless. My doctorate is in theology. They need theologians in the Amazon about as much as they need snowshoes.

As the middle class continues to grow, if the economy gets better, the number of male religious in the USA is going to drop below 10K. There will be no need for most of us here, because most religious serve the poor.

Running hospitals for the poor has become almost impossible in the USA.. Running Catholic schools for free is cost prohibitive. These were the traditional ministries of religious in the USA. We also ran parishes for immigrants, but those immigrants are now middle class. They can afford to hire their own priests.

The area where we will always see male religious in the USA will be in parish missions, retreats, pro-life work, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and among the undocumented immigrants, these are the voiceless of today's America. But it does not require 25,000 American religious to do these things.

We will continue to recruit and export.

Fraternally,

Br.JR, FFV :)


#5

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#6

There are 17,000 men religious and 55,944 women religious. Thanks, Dale, for the Georgetown resource!


#7

Brother JR, thank you for this helpful correction and perspective.

I’ve thought this before, and I will say it now, we would lost without you. :blush:

That you are willing to step away your new duties to spend time at CAF is a great blessing for us.

Dale


#8

[quote="Dale_M, post:7, topic:281567"]
Brother JR, thank you for this helpful correction and perspective.

I've thought this before, and I will say it now, we would lost without you. :blush:

That you are willing to step away your new duties to spend time at CAF is a great blessing for us.

Dale

[/quote]

Thank you for your kindness. I don't become Superior General until Pentecost Sunday. Right now,we're working on the nuts and bolts. There are most nuts than there are bolts. There are serious questions to be answered to help make the transition a smooth one.

Because of my health and because there are brothers who have many more gifts than I do, I listen a lot more than I do and I pray a lot to Our Lady to help me. When I think of all my sins, I'm often afraid of not leading well.

Getting back to this topic, if I could start a ten-year pool, here are my predictions.

The number of non-clerical American religious men is going to increase by about 100%, because the religious orders of fraternal life that have ordained and non ordained brothers are moving out of traditional priestly ministries.

The number of communities of religious brothers now existing in the USA are going to die off by about 50% and will be replaced by very ascetical religious communities of religious brothers.

Most of the new communities of religious brothers are going to be Franciscan. They'll be autonomous, but all following the same rule.

The number of religious priests in parishes in the USA is going to drop by 100%. They are moving back to their roots, which is often not parish work. Many more parishes will be closing, since bishops can't find men to replace the religious who will be leaving them.

In ten years the number of American religious men will be up by 30%, but they will not be serving in the USA. Their presence in the USA will drop by about 30%.

The number of brothers will increase across the board now that the errors of the 19the century are being rectified and the brothers are returning to the place that they held in the Church before the 19th century,which was a place of authority, apostolic work, contemplative life, equality with the priests, free from the interference of clergy and laity, and free to receive men who are talented and with a diversity of gifts, not only manual laborers. The attaction is usually to the religious life. The mistake was to assume that a religious had to be a pries in order to get out there and serve the Church.

We're gong to see interesting changes among male American religious. It's going to be much more structured than that of the sisters. Partly because it's the nature of men to be more cautious. Also, most male communities have a strong hierarchical structure that is optional in religious communities of women. It's rarely optional in religious communities of men.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, FFV :)


#9

[quote="JReducation, post:4, topic:281567"]

I lived in a parish with 4 brothers. I was the superior and administrator. The pastor was also one of our brothers, but he covered five parishes over 500 sq miles. He came every few weeks to celebrate mass. We did the baptizing, held Liturgy of the Word, distributed Holy Communion, trained catechists, ran the school, dispensary and one of our brothers was an engineer, so he taught the local people to build drainage canals to take away human waste. I was brought back, because I was pretty useless. My doctorate is in theology. They need theologians in the Amazon about as much as they need snowshoes.

[/quote]

Is it generally assumed that if a postulant/novice is interested in advanced studies in theology, Scripture etc. that he should be a priest? Or would there be a place for him in pursuing such studies without being ordained? In other words, should brothers who do not pursue the priesthood concentrate on things like engineering, medicine, or manual labor rather than the things that ordained priests have already covered?


#10

[quote="AlwaysCurious, post:9, topic:281567"]
Is it generally assumed that if a postulant/novice is interested in advanced studies in theology, Scripture etc. that he should be a priest? Or would there be a place for him in pursuing such studies without being ordained? In other words, should brothers who do not pursue the priesthood concentrate on things like engineering, medicine, or manual labor rather than the things that ordained priests have already covered?

[/quote]

Actually Brother JR if I remember right has both a degree in a technology field and an advanced degree in theology. One common mistake people make is that a brother is just someone that couldn't make it as a priest. They are different callings. Some are called to both, some are called to one, some are called to none of the above. If you are currently in college and not associated directly with a religious Order, continue with your field of studies. In the meantime get a religious adviser and talk things over with them. If you are a postulant you should be talking things over with that community. If you aren't in college yet and considering joining a Religious Order I would suggest getting an adviser from that community. Once you make your vows it will be up to your superiors whether you will be allowed to proceed to becoming a priest. Some Order encourage more ordinations then others.

Whatever your talents/interests are your community will be able to use them, although once you are professed you will be obligated to do whatever they want you to do and it may not be what you expect.


#11

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