Only Catholic Church Has Clergy Shortage

Future Church
Downloaded January 5, 2004

Contrary to recent statements made by several Bishops, including U.S. Bishops’ Conference president Bishop Wilton Gregory, only the Catholic Church is experiencing a clergy shortage. Gregory has said that a married priesthood will not help the Catholic priest shortage because the Protestant church, which allows a married clergy, also has a shortage. A Purdue University study by James D. Davidson, reported in the December 1, 2003 issue of America magazine, found that since 1981 all Protestant denominations registered an increase in clergy of 3 to 35 %. Only the Catholic Church registered a hefty 22% decrease.

Davidson also found the Catholic Church to be unique in several other areas: the increasing number of lay people per priest, the declining number of priests per parish, the increasing number of priestless parishes and the declining number of priests in non parish ministries. This led him to conclude "the root causes of these problems and possible solutions are more likely to be found in the church itself."