Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Only Catholic Church Losing Clergy

Contrary to an oft repeated mantra by certian groups with regard to the retention of Clergy in Christian Churches in the United States, the truth is that only the Catholic Church has experienced a decline.

From CNS NEWS BRIEFS Nov-10-2003:

Among major U.S. religious bodies, the Catholic Church is the only one experiencing a decreasing number of clergy, according to Purdue University sociology professor James D. Davidson. In the current U.S. discussion over whether mandatory celibacy is a significant factor in the Catholic priest shortage, some church officials have cited clergy shortages in other denominations to argue that it is the social or cultural climate of the country that inhibits vocations, not celibacy. Davidson compared 1981-2001 trends in the Catholic Church, seven large mainline Protestant churches and three more theologically conservative churches. He found that the Catholic Church experienced a 22 percent decline in clergy, while all the Protestant churches registered gains. Even seven denominations that had declining membership in those years had more clergy in 2001 than in 1981 or 1991, he found. The CARA Report, a quarterly publication of the Washington-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, cited Davidson's findings in its fall 2003 issue.