In his address to American Bishops, Pope Francis recommended that they focus on their work as pastors, spending individual, close, time with their congregants. The statistics blog FiveThirtyEight analysed this statement in conjunction with 50 years of data collected by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.
FiveThirtyEight found that there is only one priest per every 2,600 parishioners, and 20% of parishes don’t have a priest at all. This is the result of a long trend dating back as far as 1965, the first year they collected data, when there were 1,289 parishioners per priest.
One commentator saw a bright side to this, rejoicing in being part of a nation that now receives missionaries; their parish has had a priest from each of Vietnam, Colombia, and Nigeria.
We’ve heard that Priests are experiencing burnout at a greater rate; do you think this is the cause? Why do you think the numbers are trending so low?