04 April 2021

Pre Pope John Paul II Bishops (updated)

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

The answer is that only 1 remains.

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

08 March 2021

Over 45,000 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 45,000 Bishops. The recent additions include many French bishops from the 14th and 15th centuries.

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.)

24 January 2021

Deadliest Month for Bishops

Thanks in large part to Covid-19, this month is now the most deadly for bishops in history. The previous record was set just last month.

MonthBishop Deaths
Jan 202127*
Dec 202023
Mar 198822*
Jun 202021
Feb 201321
Jul 201119*
*if you look at the tables on my website, it includes one additional death for this month for a person covered who was never a bishop (for example, an Apostolic Prefect). 

To help put this in perspective, over the last year (2020) the average was 14.9 deaths per month. Over the last decade, it was 12.6 per month. And over the last century it was 8.3 bishop deaths per month.

May they all rest in peace.

Bishop Deaths in 2020.
Bishop Deaths in 2021.

(updated on 31 Jan 2021)

29 December 2020

Record number of Bishop Deaths - 2020

For a variety of reasons, including Covid-19, the number of bishops that have died this year is at a record high.

The previous record was in 2017 with 168 deaths (note that 4 of those were never bishops: a former Abbot; an Abbot Emeritus; and two Prefect Apostolic Emeritus).

The next closest was last year (2019) with 164 deaths (note that 2 of those were never bishops: an Abbot Emeritus and a Prefect Apostolic Emeritus)

Currently for 2020, the count stands at 179 and all of those were bishops. 

Recent Necrologies

May they all rest in peace.

(updated on 2 Jan 2021)

24 May 2020

Religious Orders in Recent Times (top dozen, charts, 2020)

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 sets 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 15,591 members, down 57% 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 have an impact on the vocation numbers.

Two more orders reached that milestone in 2016: Franciscans (now down 52%) and Oblates of Mary Immaculate (now down 52%).

Two more orders are very close to reaching that point: Redemptorists (down 47%) and Vincentians/Lazarists (down 43%). Both showed a small drop in the last year.

In terms of priests, only one order has reached that point, the Benedictines which are down 52% from their recent high point (from 7,058 in the early 1970s to 3,420 in 2019).

Three other orders are in danger of reaching that point: the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (down 49%), Jesuits (down 47%), and the Franciscans (down 46%).

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.

The Benedictines had the best year of the top 12, increasing their number of priests by 6 and members by 184.

Overall, adding all of the top 12 together, the all time high was in 1966 with 160,926 total members. In 2019, that had dropped 42% to 93,214. In terms of priests, the high was in 1971 with 95,411 total priests. In 2019, that had dropped 33% to 64,119.

If current trends continue, the Jesuits will lose the title of largest religious order to the Salesians of Saint John Bosco. First by the number of members (4 years) and later by number of priests (11 years).

(* 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 hope to do similar charts for Female Religious Orders.

02 January 2020

Deaths vs Consecrations in a Year

This past year (2019), more bishops died than were consecrated.

In other words, there were fewer bishops at the end of the year vs the beginning.

While it is not common, it is not that unusual either.

The years of the two World Wars (1914-8 and 1939-45) all had more deaths than consecrations.

But there have been several other years since 1900 as well, as the table below illustrates.


May they all rest in peace.