The purpose of this blog is to provide an open forum for discussion of the aims of the society; news from the wider Church and details of Masses and events of interest in the diocese. The Latin Mass Society in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough expresses its full filial devotion and loyalty to Holy Mother Church, Pope Francis and Bishop Drainey.


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Church of St Mary & St Joseph, Baxtergate, Hedon HU12 8JN


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Church of St Wilfrid, Duncombe Place, York. YO1 7EF

27 April 2013

Priest Statistics

Some readers may have been following on other blogs a debate about how the number of ordinations in the last few years compares with earlier times.  It started with the National Office for Vocations publishing some obviously erroneous figures, from which it was asserted that the current numbers are vastly higher than the numbers for the 1930s and 1940s.

After some delving, I found a table of statistics on a website called ukpriest.  This is an official website of the National Vocations Office, so should be reasonably reliable.  Amongst other figures, it gives the number of priests in England and Wales for each decade from 1841 to 2001, with the exception of the year 1891 which is missing.   One presumes that it includes religious as well as secular clergy.  Here is the relevent extract:

Year                    Priests                     Change

1841                      561     
1851                      826                         +265
1861                    1165                         +339
1871                    1551                         +386
1881                    2498                         +947
1901                    2856                         +358
1911                    3766                         +910
1921                    3989                         +223
1931                    4484                         +495
1941                    5838                       +1354
1951                    6729                         +890
1961                    7465                         +737
1971                    7618                         +153
1981                    7016                         - 602
1991                    6261                         -755
2001                    5600                         -661

These are numbers of priests, so to get to ordinations, we would need to know the number of priests who die or leave the priesthood each decade.  I do not have this information.  However, the trend is very obvious.  The number of priests increases each decade until 1971after which it decreaseseach decade.

Analysis can only be as good as the raw data, and I have some suspicions about some of the figures.  Can anyone explain th big increases indicated in 1881, 1911 and 1941?

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