Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

It would be difficult to imagine worse

August 20th, 2012, Promulgated by Mike

I was pretty busy last week and it wasn’t until the weekend that I had a chance to respond to Ben’s invitation to post my thoughts on our next bishop on the D&C web site.

What follows is a somewhat longer version of my comment (the original did not have bullet points 5 through 10 as they struck me as overkill at the time).

The results of Bishop Clark’s 33 year experiment with progressive Catholicism are in – and they are not pretty:

  • 93 out of 200 (47%) Catholic parishes, missions, stations and chapels closed;
  • 53 out of 78 (68%) Catholic elementary schools closed;
  • 4 out of 9 (44%) Catholic high schools closed;
  • 220 out of 238 (92%) teaching sisters gone;
  • 18 out of 20 (90%) teaching priests gone;
  • 33 out of 33 (100%) teaching brothers gone;
  • 16,130 out of 21,006 (77%) Catholic elementary school students gone;
  • 4,355 out of 7,488 (58%) Catholic high school students gone;
  • 28,323 out of 39,402 (72%) Catholic elementary school religious education students gone;
  • 7,165 out of 8,767 (82%) Catholic high school religious education students gone;
  • Catholic marriages down by 67% (from 2,076 to 689) ;
  • Interfaith (or “mixed”) marriages down by 76% (from 1,321 to 320);
  • Infant baptisms down by 61% (from 6,742 to 2,646);
  • Weekend Mass attendance in free fall (down by over a third in a mere 10 years);
  • 251 out of 341 (74%) active diocesan priests gone (with most of the remainder rapidly approaching retirement age);
  • Vocations to the priesthood down to a barely discernible trickle; and
  • All of this in a diocese that saw its number of registered Catholics drop by 16% while its total population grew by 3% during those same 33 years.

Given these fruits of progressive Catholicism-run-rampant, it would be difficult to imagine that any bishop who made it his business to teach what the Church teaches – no more and no less, who insisted that all diocesan/parish employees – including priests – did the same, and who made it absolutely clear that things like dissent from Church teaching and liturgical “creativity” would not be tolerated – it would be difficult to imagine that such a bishop could do any worse.

Perhaps it’s time to give real Catholicism a chance?

(The Mass attendance data is here. The OCD data is here and here.)



13 Responses to “It would be difficult to imagine worse”

  1. Dr. K says:

    The numbers don’t lie.

  2. annonymouse says:

    One exception – at long last, vocations to the priesthood appear to be thriving. There are something like 26 men in formation at present – a true blessing. Father Horan deserves much praise for his work as vocations director, in addition to his pastor responsibilities.

  3. Mike says:

    Good catch, annonymouse. I meant to say “ordinations” instead of “vocations” but somehow my fingers typed the wrong word.

    Yes, our seminarians and discerners are a real cause for thanksgiving – and hope!

  4. Richard Thomas says:

    I share your hopes too but I just relly hope the seminarians are solid men, are not being indoctrinated at the seminary concerning Catholic morals. This mess will take several generations to heal.

  5. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Being the mathematical/statistical “klutz” that I am, I am always impressed with statistical compilations. Can you gather enough data from other dioceses in the State to see how we compare at the state level on each of these items ?? And how do we compare with the national average on these items?

    PS:the USCCB should be able to provide some figures on the national and state level or perhaps try the NCR.

  6. Mike says:


    The OCD does has all that data, so there’s no need to look elsewhere. It happens to be spread across several pages in each volume, but it is all there.

    There are, however, a couple of problems:

    First, no diocese in the state has had the same bishop for anywhere near 33 years so I’m not sure how valid any comparisons would be.

    Second, right now I am involved in a pretty big project for my parish and just don’t have much free time available.

    Still, it would be an interesting exercise. I’m going to put it on my “To Do” list.

  7. Raymond F. Rice says:

    Mike: thanks for your reply. I will make it somewhat easier for you by telling you that I have seen data that indicates that the least amount of vocations to the priesthood in this country come from the Las Vegas diocese. We are one notch above them, second to last place.

  8. Mike says:


    Re my last comment: I was reminded that Albany has had +Hubbard for about as long as we have had +Clark, so that comparison would be interesting.

    Measuring vocations is tricky. Do you look at the number of ordinations? Since they’re almost always single digit numbers each year a change of one of two can really skew the percentages. Or maybe the average over the last 3 or 5 years? That would be better, but I have only one pre-1979 OCD (1977), so I would have to come up with something else.

    The other approach is to look at the number of seminarians. However, I read somewhere that some dioceses report all their seminarians, while others report only those in the theologate (last 4 years), so you could end up comparing apples and oranges and never realize it.

  9. Scott W. says:

    Yes, it would seem to me that if there are no studies that break down seminarians further, then looking at number of ordinations is the better measure.

  10. Raymond F. Rice says:

    The number of students studying for the priesthood in a particular diocese is not always an indication of the spiritual health of the diocese. One has to look at the geographic source of the vocation. It is quite easy these days for a first world diocese to recruit from third world dioceses. The recruiter goes to a poor diocese and recruits local talent. He offers an alternative to them of living in a “luxury” environment, drink clean water, eat nutritious food and have first rate medical care as do the inhabitants of that country; or he can stay where he is in a third world environment and help the local Catholics cope with life and where he is desperately needed.

    It is important to know where the vocations are coming from.

  11. Mike says:


    Early each year the USCCB commissions CARA to survey the seminarians scheduled to be ordained that year. One of the questions asked is how long the potential ordinand lived in his diocese before entering the seminary. In the last three years the number living there less than a year has varied between 12 and 16% (or from one out of eight to one out of six). This year’s number was 12%. While some of those could be foreign-born, some could also be guys just not interested in serving in the diocese where they grew up.

    As for foreign-born ordinands the survey reports,

    Almost three in ten ordinands were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Vietnam, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, and the Philippines. On average, responding ordinands who were born in another country came to America in their early twenties. Between 20 and 30 percent of ordinands to diocesan priesthood for each of the last ten years were born outside of the United States.

    The full 2012 survey is here.

    It should also be noted that some bishops will not accept men from outside their own dioceses; Lincoln’s +Bruskewitz is reported to be one of them. However, the article that mentioned this did not say how long a man had to have lived in the diocese for him to be considered a “local.”

  12. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I wonder if we will be getting more candidates for the priesthood from the families of Episcopalians who are now subjecting themselves to the authority of the Church of Rome. I know it happens in the Eastern Rites, where a father (Father) produces a son who becomes a priest and so on down the line with priests begetting priests..

  13. Richard Thomas says:

    The Episcopalians are a breath of life for a Church that is drowning in the post Vatican II mirth. And I pray for reunification with the orthodox.

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