16 April 2016

Decoding the "Source(s) Section" on Bishop pages

Several years ago, I introduced the "Source(s)" section on Bishop pages on the site. It is still far from complete and not all entries are visible.

Most of the actual source references are pretty easy to understand. Sometimes it is only initials (perhaps with a date) - those usually refer to individuals that often provide information for the site. In the future, I may expand those to full names, after I have consulted with them.

But the first part of the source information line may be a bit more confusing. So here is a list of the common codes (when multiple apply, they may be separated by a slash).


  • bp birth place
  • bd birth date
  • b biography (general, usually means too many items to list separately)
  • od ordained deacon
  • op ordained priest
  • ob ordained bishop
  • oXd diocese for whom he was ordained (examples: odd, opd, obd)
  • oXp location at which he was ordained (not currently in the databases)
  • dd death date
  • dp death place
  • i installed
  • s succeeded
  • ab appointed bishop
  • r resigned/retired
  • c0 bishop who ordained him to the diaconate
  • c1 bishop who ordained him to the priesthood
  • c2 principal consecrator for his bishop ordination
  • cX principal co-consecrator for his bishop ordination (X being any number above 2)

(note the c are often combined, so c2+ means principal consecrators plus co-consecrators)

An example that has several of these is the entry for my own ordinary:  Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas.

09 April 2016

Milestones: 30 million visits

My little project had its 30 millionth visit last month!

In just under 14 years of with this web address, it has had: 30,253,558 visits with 188,142,966 pages served.

That's about 120k unique monthly visitors making 240k monthly visits and viewing about 1.4 million pages each month (averages for 2015).

Sadly I do not have good stats from the early days of the project (before May 2002). Also the stats are a bit understated because of a few failures with the logs - mostly at times of extreme high volume (the two papal transition periods).

Many thanks to all of you that use the website!

19 March 2016

Religious Orders in Recent Times (top dozen, charts, 2016)

I've updated a few charts that look at the number of priests and members of religious orders over the last several decades. To avoid it looking like spaghetti, I only used the top dozen orders based on number of priests*. I also split the top 4 from the other 8 - there is very little overlap between the two and it makes the charts much clearer.

The charts are posted here. (.pdf format)

The Jesuits were the first order (of the top dozen) to have lost more than half of their members from their recent high point (from 36,038 in 1966 to 17,908 in 2011). The are currently at 16,740 members, down 54% from the all time high.

One might note that there is no significant change since Pope Francis (a Jesuit) became Pope. In fairness, it normally takes several years for any event in a religious order (or diocese) to show in the vocation numbers.

Four more orders are very close to reaching that point: Franciscans (down a hair under 50%), Oblates of Mary Immaculate (down 49%), Redemptorists (down 46%), and Vincentians/Lazarists (down 46%). All four showed small drops in the last year.

In terms of priests, no order has reached that point yet and the only one really close is Benedictines which are down 48% from their recent high point (from 7,058 in the early 1970s to 3,677 in 2015).

In the top dozen, only one order, Divine Word Missionaries, has hit its high mark in terms of members in recent years (6,131 in 2009).

In terms of priests, two orders hit their highest mark in 2015: Divine Word Missionaries with 4,224 and Discalced Carmelites with 2,900.

(* Out of curiosity I checked the top dozen orders based on number of members - it was the same dozen, but in a slightly different order.)

Note that only Male Religious Orders were included because that happens to be the data I have readily available. As time permits, I'll try to do similar charts for Female Religious Orders.

08 December 2015

Age at Consecration: Comparing Three Popes Appointments

This is a look at the age at consecration of bishops named by the current and previous two Popes. To help simplify things, I've excluded those consecrated in the first 3 months of a Pope's reign (since they were likely named by the previous Pope).

Overall John Paul II Benedict XVI Francis
Count 5,675 3,912 1,282 481
Youngest 29.7 29.7 37.0 37.9
Average 53.1 52.8 53.9 54.3
Median 52.5 52.1 52.9 53.7
Oldest 91.8 82.0 91.8 73.0

The median is probably the best gauge to use since it reduces the impact of outliers. We can see a minor upward trend in the consecration ages under the 3 Popes.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues during the remainder of the reign of Pope Francis.


25 November 2015

Age at Consecration for modern Bishops of Great Britain

With the recent nomination of Bishop-elect John Wilson to be an Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, which will make him the youngest bishop in Great Britain (47.56 at consecration), someone asked me to look at modern Bishops of Great Britain and their ages at consecration.

The data set included all bishops who were born in and/or served in Great Britain (including Nuncios) and were consecrated in 1850 or later. In total that is 347 bishops. The average age at consecration is 51.26 years old.

The youngest was Bishop Henry Hanlon, born in Manchester, consecrated a titular bishop and Vicar Apostolic of Upper Nile {Nilo Superiore}, Uganda at age 32.8 back in 1894.

The next youngest was Bishop William Joseph Hugh Clifford who was consecrated Bishop of Clifton at age 33.1 in 1857. He served in that role until his death 36 years later.

Bishop Vincent Paul Logan is the youngest living. He was consecrated Bishop of Dunkeld at age 39.6 in 1981. He served in that role for almost 35 years before resigning in 2012.

The oldest was William Theodore Cardinal Heard, born in Edinburgh, consecrated at 78.1 in 1962. He served in the Roman Curia and was active during the Second Vatican Council.

The oldest who served in Great Britain was Bishop William Anthony Johnson who was consecrated a titular bishop and Auxiliary of Westminster at age 73.6 in 1906. He passed away 3 years later.

The oldest who was an ordinary in Great Britain is Bishop Peter Antony Moran who was consecrated Bishop of Aberdeen at age 68.6 in 2003 and is still living, but retired since 2011.

20 November 2015

Prediction: Next Consistory to Create Cardinals

As this liturgical year wraps up, lets take a look at next year and the College of Cardinals. Currently there are 118 electors among the 218 living cardinals, leaving only 2 open "slots" for new voting age cardinals. Assuming no deaths, that will not change until 28 Feb 2016 when Cardinal Mahony loses his elector status.

Pope Francis has created cardinals twice - both in February - but with only 3 opens slots by the end of next February, it seems highly unlikely that he'll do it again next year.

However, by the end of the year, 10 more electors will age out - leaving 13 total open slots. At the time of the creations in 2014, there were 14 open slots and in 2015 there were 10.

So based on that and looking at the traditional times for such a consistory, I predict that the next consistory to create cardinals will be one held on Christ the King weekend in 2016 (19/20 November).

Now looking past that, in 2017 only 4 electors will age out - the last one in April. If I'm correct in the first prediction, there won't be one held in 2017.

2018 is a different story, with 7 cardinals losing their vote - the last one in June. My guess is there will be another consistory to create cardinals in the Spring of 2018.

Of course, I have no inside knowledge and the creation of cardinals is at the complete discretion of the Holy Father.

Related:

08 September 2015

Pre Pope John Paul II Bishops

So the question: How many active bishops were appointed to their current post before Pope John Paul II became Pope?

The answer is only 4.

The ordinaries are:
There are no longer any Auxiliary Bishops that meet the criteria. The last one retired in January 2012.

All of them were named by Pope Paul VI.

You'll notice that many of them are at or near the retirement age. Before they do retire, let us take a moment to thank them for their many years of service!