22 August 2015
Ordinations in the USA
It has recently been announced by the bishops conference of the United States that there have been 595 ordinations to the priesthood this year in the US. This compares with 477 last year and 497 in 2013. Apparently the average age of the ordinands is 34. Whilst one should not read too much into a single year's figures, the increase of 118 over last year (about 25%) is surely significant. These new priests would, in most cases, have commenced their training in 2008 or 2009, during the papacy of Benedict XVI and shortly after the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. This could be considered as evidence of the so called Benedict bounce, although we could do with the figures for the next two years to be sure of this. This is a welcome improvement, but is insufficient to halt the decline in the number of priests in the USA. There would need to be nearly 1,000 ordinations each year to maintain the present numbers. However, the USA is in a much better position than England and Wales so far as the supply of future priests is concerned. It is regrettable that the bishops of England and Wales do not publish similar information. Without it, one cannot be very sure how we stand for priests in the future.