I didn’t think I’d actually live to see the day that Catholicism was on the decline. It seems not only are the parishioners (sheep) leaving the drove (and leaving in droves), but even the shepherds are dwindling. What is surprising is that this is coming from the religion’s own research, not some antagonist with an agenda. Apparently things have gotten so dire, that the National Catholic Reporter titled an article, “Now is the time for priests to marry.” (I wonder if the Catholic Pope will suddenly have some “revelation” from God telling him that priests marrying is okay?)
How bad has the situation become? In the above-linked article was a link to a statistical website named “CARA” or “Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.” Those categorized as priests in 1965 amounted to 58,632. In 2016 (51 years later) that number is now 37,192 or a mere 63 percent of 1960’s quantity. Although the report also says there has been a substantial increase (nearly 30 million, for a total of 67 million) in the “Catholic population,” the number of “former Catholic adults” has also continually, dramatically increased to the point that number shown is 30.1 million people. What about those who are “graduate-level seminarians”? In 1965 they were 8,325. In 2016 that number was less than half at 3,520.
Again, before you get ready to rip my head off, please note that these statistics are coming directly from Catholic organizations. What will they do? I can see the Pope having quite a quandary over this because of the implications of financial costs. Perhaps he will decide that priests can marry, but must be sterilized. After all, if they start producing families, think of the financial burden that will put on the church’s wealth.
The Bible speaks of apostates that would introduce an idea that people are forbidden to marry. To me, this very much applies to the celibacy requirements of Catholic priesthood. The church has ignored this scripture in the past. It will be interesting to see what develops. In the meantime, with falling numbers, I am reminded of Isaiah 65:13-14, which reads:
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says:
“Look! My servants will eat, but you will go hungry.
Look! My servants will drink, but you will go thirsty.
Look! My servants will rejoice, but you will suffer shame.
Look! My servants will shout joyfully because of the good condition of the heart,
But you will cry out because of the pain of heart
And you will wail because of a broken spirit.
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