Nineteen Sixty-four is a research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University edited by Mark M. Gray. CARA is a non-profit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church. Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church's self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism. Follow CARA on Twitter at: caracatholic.

2.07.2017

The Changing Geography of Catholic Seminaries


Summary: Worldwide, the number of seminaries seems to have grown significantly over the last century. Currently, only one in five seminaries are located in Europe and North America. Countries with the most seminaries are India (1,096 seminaries), Brazil (1,010 seminaries), and Italy (407 seminaries). A strong, positive correlation exists between the total number of priests and the overall number of philosophy and theology seminaries. Likewise, a strong, positive correlation exists between the size of Catholic population and the number of diocesan philosophy and theology seminaries. CARA is releasing the Directory of Catholic Seminaries (see the links at the bottom of this post) containing a wealth of information about seminaries around the world. Michal Kramarek, Ph.D. led the research for this project and is the author of this post.

The Catholic Encyclopedia published in 1912 includes a list of English-speaking seminaries throughout the world. The Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae from 2012 includes a list enumerating seminaries in virtually all countries around the world. The table below compares the data from these two sources.

Overall, the number of seminaries increased significantly over the last century in eight countries where the data is available. This is mostly due to the change in the number of seminaries in India and United States. In three countries the number of seminaries is the same or almost the same: Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Overall Number of Seminaries in 2013
Using the data from the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae for 2013 allows one to map the concentration of Catholic seminaries around the world. The underlying data covers 95 percent of all ecclesiastical jurisdictions around the world. The data used here is a sum of all seminaries and residences, seminaries for diocesan priests and religious priests, secondary school programs as well as philosophy and theology programs. Thus, the number of seminaries here tends to be higher than the number of seminaries-institutions in each country. It should be also noted that the map (click on the map to see a larger version) combines Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Mainland China. The underlying data includes ten seminaries spread between Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao but the number of seminaries in Mainland China is not available.


The median number of seminaries is 12 and the average is 48 per country for all countries where a seminary can be found. Countries with the most seminaries are India (1,096 seminaries), Brazil (1,010 seminaries), and Italy (407 seminaries).

Only one in five seminaries (20 percent) is located in Europe (16 percent) and North America (four percent). By comparison, 29 percent of seminaries are located in Asia and Oceania, 27 percent in South America, and 16 percent in Africa. The growth of the Catholic Church in the global south is seen by a larger number of seminaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo (159) than in Poland (90), a larger number in India (1,096) than in Italy (407), a larger number in Columbia (277) than in the United States (243).

Among countries which have at least one seminary:
  • In Africa, the highest number of seminaries can be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (159 seminaries), Nigeria (153 seminaries), and Kenya (80 seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Djibouti, Gambia, and Mauritius (each has one seminary);
  • In Asia, the highest number of seminaries can be found in India (1,096 seminaries), Philippines (329 seminaries), and Indonesia (157 seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Jordan, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Singapore, and Turkmenistan (each has one seminary);
  • In Central America, the highest number of seminaries can be found in Mexico (343 seminaries), Dominican Republic (32 seminaries), and Guatemala (28 seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Netherlands Antilles (five seminaries), Puerto Rico (four seminaries), as well as Trinidad and Tobago (one seminary);
  • In Europe, the highest number of seminaries can be found in Italy (407 seminaries), Spain (184 seminaries), and Poland (90 seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Armenia, Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Finland, Gibraltar, Macedonia, Norway, and Sweden (each has one seminary);
  • In North America, there are two countries with seminaries: United States (243 seminaries) and Canada (45 seminaries);
  • In Oceania, the highest number of seminaries can be found in Papua New Guinea (25 seminaries), Australia (23 seminaries), and Fiji (seven seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Guam (two seminaries), Kiribati (two seminaries), and French Polynesia (three seminaries);
  • In South America, the highest number of seminaries can be found in Brazil (1,010 seminaries), Colombia (277 seminaries), and Peru (152 seminaries); the fewest seminaries can be found in Suriname (two seminaries) and Uruguay (seven seminaries).

Relationship Between the Number of Seminaries and Number of Priests
Using the data from the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae for 2012 allows for an exploration of the statistical relationship between the number of seminaries (i.e., including both seminaries and residences) and the number of priests. The table below captures this relationship using correlation coefficients. Correlation coefficient can vary in value from -1 to 1. A value of more than 0.5 indicates positive, moderate relationship. A value of more than 0.7 indicates positive, strong relationship.

The correlation between all variables is positive and ranges from 0.37 to 0.86. Notably:
  • There is a positive, strong correlation between the number of bishops and the overall number of philosophy and theology seminaries and residences in countries around the world.
  • There is a positive, strong correlation between the number of diocesan priests and the number of diocesan philosophy and theology seminaries and residences in countries around the world.
  • There is a positive, strong correlation between the number of religious priests and the number of religious clergy philosophy and theology seminaries and residences in countries around the world.
  • The correlations are relatively weak between secondary seminaries (both, religious and diocesan) and the number of priests (and bishops).
 

A strong, positive correlation exists between the total number of priests and the overall number of philosophy and theology seminaries. This correlation is stronger for religious priests and weaker for diocesan priests (see the table above).

Among 129 countries where the data was available:
  • Countries with the highest total number of priests are Italy, United States, and Poland.
  • Countries with the most philosophy and theology seminaries are Brazil, India and Italy.
  • Countries with the highest number of priests per seminary (philosophy and/or theology) are South Africa, Taiwan (China), and Ireland.

Relationship Between the Number of Seminaries and Population Size
Using the data from the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae for 2012 allows one to explore the relationship between the number of seminaries and the size of general population.


The correlation between all variables is positive and ranges from 0.24 to 0.96. The correlation between general population and the number of seminaries is relatively weak. There is a positive, strong correlation between Catholic population and the total number of seminaries. Most notably, there is a very strong, positive correlation between the number of diocesan philosophy and theology seminaries on one side and the Catholic population on the other side.


A strong, positive correlation exists between the size of Catholic population and the number of diocesan philosophy and theology seminaries. This correlation highlights the geographic balance of developing seminary education where the Catholic population is present.

Among 126 countries where the data was available:
  • Countries with the biggest Catholic population are Brazil, Mexico, and Philippines.
  • Countries with the most diocesan philosophy and theology seminaries are Brazil, Italy, and Philippines.
  • Countries with the highest number of Catholics per diocesan philosophy and theology seminary are Tanzania, South Sudan, and Honduras.

The complete Directory of Catholic Seminaries is available for download now (Adobe pdf files):
Part I. General Overview
Part II. Africa
Part III. Central America
Part IV. North America
Part V. South America
Part VI. Asia
Part VII. Europe
Part VIII. Oceania

Photo of St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore courtesy of Forsaken Fotos.

1.06.2017

Parish Reorganizations and Parishioner Giving

 
This post is the first of a series here, on CARA’s website, and CARA’s social media sites about a new landmark study of Catholic parish life in the United States, Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2017). This volume brings together findings from multiple national projects that CARA researchers and Charles Zech have conducted in recent years to provide a 360 view of parish life today. It is an intentional update to the groundbreaking Notre Dame Study of Catholic Parish Life in the 1980s. It is available for order now. Stay tuned as there will be much more to come from this volume here and elsewhere from CARA.


Managing the typical Catholic parish’s finances in the United States is a difficult task. Many parishes are aging structures with significant maintenance and repair costs. Two out of three parishes in the country today were established before 1950 and more parishes have been closing each year than opening since the 1990s. The Church has been adjusting to a geographical realignment of the Catholic population for decades. Two-thirds of Catholics lived in the Northeast and Midwest as recently as 1985. Now, only 51 percent of Catholics live in these regions with growing numbers living in the South and West.

In the Northeast and Midwest, pastors often have had to deal with declining numbers of parishioners and increasing costs for maintenance in older parishes. Parish finances are heavily dependent on the giving of parishioners. With fewer people in the pews, pastors must do more with less. Bishops have noticed the shifts in the Catholic population as well and also often need to deal with declining numbers of active diocesan priests available to serve as pastors. So many dioceses in the Northeast and Midwest have either used Canon 517.2, entrusting the pastoral care of a parish to a deacon or lay person, or have reorganized by closing, merging, and clustering parishes.

One of the findings of Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century is that parishioners in a Canon 517.2 parish or in parishes affected by the creation of a new parish are more likely than those in the typical parish to give more to their weekly collections. Parishioners give less than the parishioner in the typical parish when their community is the result of a merger, is affected by a nearby closure of a parish, or when their parish is placed in a cluster or other partnership with nearby parishes.


The typical parishioner household in the United States gives just under $10 to the weekly collection at their parish. Imagine a small parish with the regular attendance of 500 family households and 100 single parishioners. Giving, $9.43, on average, this would result in a total weekly collection of $5,658. Multiply that by 52 weeks and the grand total comes to $294,216. Parishes have other sources of revenue but this would represent a significant chunk of the annual resources.

Parish communities that are merged, affected by a nearby closure, or that have been clustered often get bigger as multiple communities are brought together in some form. Canon 517.2 parishes are typically small parishes where a priest is unavailable but there are no nearby parishes where a merger of cluster is feasible. A parish affected by the creation of a new parish may lose some of its parishioners to this new worship site or actually be this new community.

Is giving by parishioners sensitive to the size of community? It appears so. Catholic Parishes of the 21st Century does show that giving in a parish with 300 households is higher than parishes with more than 1,500 households. In the smaller parishes the average given per week is $11.63 per household ($181,428 annual total). In the largest parishes the average given per week is $7.05 per household ($549,900 annual total).

When parish reorganizations take place, the sizes of parishes change in a dioceses. These parishes should expect changes in the amounts given by parishioners, perhaps in response to perceptions of need, given the size of the community. Some may also seek to express dissatisfaction with changes and give less, while others may look to support their community more given the changes that take place. The case of the Canon 517.2 parish is interesting. In these communities, parishioners likely used to have a resident priest pastor. They may have struggled with Catholic population losses and eventually considered the possibility they might have their parish closed. The appointment of a deacon or lay person to provide the pastoral care of the parish (i.e., including arranging for priests to be available for Mass and sacraments) may be a blessing to them as they get to maintain their community. This may lead them to give more to support it.

12.08.2016

Getting Into the Electoral College


On December 19, electors will meet in their state and vote for President and Vice President as the Electoral College. This institution was inspired, in part, by the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals. As most are now aware, the United States does not have a national popular vote for presidential elections. Instead, we’ve had multiple popular votes in the states, with Electoral College electors distributed by the size of the population in the state (which is reflected in its numbers of Congressional representatives. DC is treated as a state). The winning candidate must win a combination of states that gives them a majority of these Electoral College votes. In four elections, including 2016, the candidate winning more electors gained fewer total votes in the electorate than the candidate finishing second in the Electoral College. Is this because electors in the Electoral College are disproportionately allocated? This is part of it. Larger states tend to have a larger share of the voting eligible population (VEP) than their share of electors (see the states above the line in the figure below. Data are from Michael McDonald’s United States Elections Project). No matter how small the state, the fewest electors assigned is still three. This creates slight over-representation in small states.


The other more impactful distortion of the Electoral College is that in most states it is “winner take all.” The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, who use some smaller districts to divide up their electors. Hillary Clinton needed 26% more votes than Trump to win each of her electors. She had 269,414 votes per elector compared to Trump’s 199,976 votes per elector. Clinton also had more “wasted” votes than Trump. Because the winner in most states wins all the electors, there are many places where the votes for candidates did not result in any Electoral College gains. In all, 31.8 million people who voted for Clinton did not impact her standing in the Electoral College. This is a majority, 51%, of all her votes. By comparison, Trump’s wasted votes totaled only 20.7 million, 34% of the votes he won.

An alternative allocation method for electors could use proportional representation to assign electors and achieve Electoral College results that are more reflective of the national vote totals. Recall the smallest states have three votes. To proportionally assign electors we would likely only be able to look at the votes won by the top two candidates (i.e., using a 10% vote threshold for third party candidates). Doing so with the 2016 vote, if we use the two-candidate share of votes for both Clinton and Trump and then apply these to the number of electors in each state we can give each candidate electors in rough proportion to their share of votes won. First we allow this to occur fractionally. For example, in Alabama, Trump led Clinton in the two-candidate vote 65% (1,306,925 million votes) to 35% (718,084 votes). Alabama has nine electors. Thus, Trump would get 5.8 electors and Clinton would net 3.2. Because fractional electors are not possible we simply round to the nearest whole person. Trump six and Clinton three. This also means in California, Trump would win 19 of 55 electors. Keep doing this for each state and you get Trump winning 268 electors and Clinton winning 270—a near tie but enough for a Clinton win. But of course these are not the rules of the game that have been established and used in the United States.

As we noted in a previous post, winning the Catholic vote has long been a good indicator that a candidate will win the election. Then perhaps the Catholic population is closely aligned with the Electoral College? Not really. As you can see below, large Catholic populations are in California, Texas, and New York. As a share of all Catholics these populations are much larger than the share of electors each of these states has. On the other hand, Catholics in Florida potentially are more influential than their population size if they vote in one direction or another in large numbers.


Image courtesy of clemsonunivlibrary.

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