02 September 2018

Religious Orders in Recent Times (top dozen, charts, 2018)

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). They are currently at 16,088 members, down 55% 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.

Two more orders reached that milestone in 2016: Franciscans (now down 51%) and Oblates of Mary Immaculate (now down 50%).

Two more orders are very close to reaching that point: Redemptorists (down 47%) and Vincentians/Lazarists (down 41%). The first showed a small drop in the last year and the second an increase.

In terms of priests, only one order has reached that point, the Benedictines which are down 51% from their recent high point (from 7,058 in the early 1970s to 3,445 in 2017).

Three other orders are in danger of reaching that point: the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (down 46%), Franciscans (down 45%), and the Jesuits (down 45%).

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 2016: Divine Word Missionaries with 4,231 and Discalced Carmelites with 2,937.

Overall, adding all of the top 12 together, the all time high was in 1966 with 160,926 total members. In 2017, that had dropped 42% to 94,202. In terms of priests, the high was in 1971 with 95,411 total priests. In 2017, that had dropped 32% to 65,358.

(* 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.

21 August 2018

Now featuring over 40,000 Bishops

Once again, I've been working on some older data entry for the site. In doing so, it has passed a milestone: it now has data on over 40,000 Bishops.

Here is a quick table showing how the data has expanded over time:

YearMonthBishopsMonths from previous

(Note: there are a few "bishops" on the site that are not really bishops. These are mostly either ordinaries of a jurisdiction such as a prefecture or cardinals that were not also bishops.)

25 July 2018

Cardinal Electors and Modern Limits

First a bit of background information before we get to the periods were there was more than 120 Cardinal Electors.

The age limit on electors became effective on 1 Jan 1971 (Ingravescentem Aetatem). The limit of 120 electors was added on 1 Oct 1975 (Romano Pontifici Eligendo). The current rule (cardinals age 80 or less on the day the Holy See becomes vacant may vote) was added on 22 Feb 1996 (Universi Dominici Gregis).

Before the 1996 language, it is not possible to precisely say the number of cardinal electors (it was based on when the conclave began), so I'll disregard the 2 times before then when the number could have been 121 for short periods.

Since then, there have been 10 times when the 120 number was exceeded.

Start End Highest Days PopeNote
21-Feb-2001 1-Aug-2002 136 526 JP2
21-Oct-2003 12-Dec-2004 134 418 JP21
21-Oct-2003 10-Jan-2005 135 447 JP22
24-Mar-2006 25-Mar-2006 121 1 B16
20-Nov-2010 27-Jan-2011 121 68 B16
18-Feb-2012 27-Jul-2012 125 160 B16
22-Feb-2014 12-Mar-2014 122 18 F
14-Feb-2015 20-Apr-2015 125 65 F
19-Nov-2016 29-Nov-2016 121 10 F
28-Jun-2017 6-Sep-2017 121 70 F
28-Jun-2018 28-Apr-2019 125 304 F3

There are two entries beginning in 2003 due to Cardinal Gulbinowicz. At the time it was thought that his birth year was 1928 (age out in 2008), but in reality it was 1923 (age out in 2003 just before the consistory). The correct birth year was not acknowledged until February 2005.
1) in reality
2) as perceived at the time
3) the final period is an estimate that assumes no cardinal elector dies and no new ones are created before the end date.

For completeness, here are the other times when the 120 limit was exceeded with some notes.

Start End Highest Days Pope Note
28-Apr-1968 1-Jan-1971 134 978 P6 1
30-Jun-1979 1-Jul-1979 121 1 JP2 2
28-Jun-1988 27-Jul-1988 121 29 JP2 2

1) This was before the age limit and the 120 cardinal elector limit existed.
2) The count and Days are based on the current language. At the time the age limit was more vague and a precise count of electors is not possible.

(Revised on 27 Aug 2018 to add info about Cardinal Gulbinowicz)

10 May 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary!

The earliest start to the main website was early in 1997. I don't have an exact date or even copies of the earliest beginnings. At the time, it was 3 manually created pages - covering only the US.

About 5 years later, on 10 May 2002, the Feast of St. Damien de Veuster, the new domain (Catholic-Hierarchy.org) went live. Statistics are only available from that point.

There are a few points in time when the stats went down for a period of time (server overloads, etc.) - no attempt has been made to correct for those.

By the time the new domain went live, the site covered just the Americas. But that was corrected a few months later when the rest of the world was complete enough to merge into the main site.

The only major area not fully covered at this time is China - due to its unique situation. I hope that will be resolved soon.

So, in 15 years, folks have made 32.9 million visits to the site, viewing 204.5 million pages. For the geeks: that's 560.7 million hits and 3.1 terabytes of data served.

Unique visitors are always a tricky metric, but currently its over 120k a month. In the last month, there have been visitors from almost every country in the world (Google Analytics says 216).

Thank you all for the support and help along the way. I look forward to another 20 years!

23 March 2017

US Bishops at or near the retirement age

The following US bishops are either already at or reach the normal retirement age (75) in the next year. (Birthdate, Bishop, Title)

Auxiliary Bishops

06 February 2017

200 million pages served

In the last week of January, the main website passed a milestone - 200 million web pages served.

While the website has been around in some form since 1997. About five years that the website acquired its name and all stats begin at that point.

So, as of last weekend, folks have made 32.2 million visits to the website, seeing a bit over 200 million web pages (552 million hits for the nerds out there). That's a bit over 3 terabytes of data served.

Many thanks to all of you that use the website!

05 February 2017

Cardinal Stats and Charts, 2017

This posts assumes that there are no deaths among the current Cardinals.

As of today (5 Feb 2017, there are be 226 Living Cardinals with 119 eligible to vote in a conclave when that should become necessary.

The average age of the Cardinals is 78.16 and the average of the electors is 71.18 years old.

The average length of service as a Cardinal is 11.27 years, 6.39 years if only considering electors.

The youngest Cardinal is Dieudonné Nzapalainga, C.S.Sp. (Archbishop of Bangui) who will turn 50 years old on 14 March.

The oldest Cardinal is José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez (Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales) who will turn 98 on the 18th of this month.

I've posted an updated version of the Cardinal Charts (warning: PDF format).

The charts are:
  • Number of Cardinals (1585-2027; 1915-2027; and 1965-2027)
  • Average Age (1585-2027; 1915-2027; and 1965-2027)

Cardinals Turning 80

WhenCardinal Electors
End of 2017116
End of 2018109
End of 201999
(the table assumes no deaths nor new Cardinal Electors)

For a prediction of when the next batch of Cardinals will be created, please see this post.

Cardinal-Electors as Percent of the College

With the introduction of the age limit for Cardinals to vote in a conclave, the percent of Cardinals eligible to vote has been trending downward.

Today, 52.2% are Electors.

Assuming no Cardinal deaths and no new creations, on 7 Mar 2018, Cardinal-Electors will be 50% (113 of 226). On 30 Mar 2018 it will fall below 50% for the first time ever (112 of 226).

Given that deaths of non-Electors are more likely, the dates will likely be later than those given above.