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  • Friday, April 08, 2005


    Sullivan on the Failures of Pope JPII

    I have mixed feelings about Andrew Sullivan. He seems an intelligent chap, well-spoken, gay, and quite conservative most of the time. I don't read him much unless someone points me at a particular piece. This is one of those times. He has some interesting stats on Pope John Paul II's tenure as pope.

    This is from his blog, Daily Dish. All emphasis mine.
    DATA ON JOHN PAUL II: I'm surprised that hard data on the damage the late Pope did to the Catholic church has not been readily available in the mainstream media. But here are some interesting statistics. Since 1975, the number of priestly ordinations in the U.S. declined from 771 a year to 533 last year. (In 2000, the number hit a low of 442.) When you adjust for population growth, in 1975, 771 newly ordained priests faced a Catholic population of 49 million; today, 533 emerge for a total of 64 million Catholics. Essentially, per Catholic, we saw a 50 percent drop in vocations under this Pope. No wonder that in 1975, 702 parishes had no priest; and today, over 3,000 are without a pastor. That's quite an indictment. Globally, the picture is a little brighter, but still not encouraging. The number of parishes without priests went from 23 percent of all parishes in 1975 to 25 percent in 2000. In the U.S., weekly church attendance has slowly but innexorably declined to well below 50 percent of all Catholics. The decline in religious orders has been particularly steep: down by over 30 percent. And all this understates the crisis facing the American church, because almost half the current priesthood is over 60 - and their replacements are in shorter and shorter supply. This is the legacy of John Paul II: a church that may soon have no-one to run it. John Paul the Great? Puhlease.

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