express the depth of decadence into which the modern Church has fallen.
They can, however, reflect it in some way, as effects reflect their cause.
Kenneth C. Jones recently published an Index of Leading Catholic Indicators
for the United States, which is very revealing. The figures for seminarians
and religious are particularly shocking. Rom 1965 to 2002, the number
of seminarians declined more than 90%, from 49,000 to 4,7000. Needless
to say two-thirds of the 600 seminaries operating in 1965 have now closed.
In 1965 there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002 this figure had fallen
to 75,000, with a large proportion of these being very elderly. In 1965
there were 104,000 teaching nuns. In 2002 there were only 8,200, a decline
of 94%. The same drop in men religious in formation is apparent. In 1965
there were in the U.S. 3,559 Jesuits in formation. In 2002 there were
389. The number for the Christian Brothers has dropped from 912 to 7,
and the Franciscans and Redemptorists combined had 3,379 in formation
compared with 84 in 2002. The possibility of substituting a social welfare
and social justice kind of apostolate has slowed down the decline in number
of priests, for 58,000 in 1965 to 45,000 in 2002. However, this decline
will keep accelerating, since there were only 450 priests ordained in
the U.S. in 2002, compared to 1,575 in 1965.