In light of the recent letter signed by 165 Milwaukee priests calling for optional celibacy in the priesthood, it bears mentioning that the ‘crisis’ in vocations is most pronounced in liberal, progressive dioceses like Milwaukee. It should come as no surprise to faithful Catholics that in cities where the traditions and doctines of the faith are routinely sniped, attacked, and disregarded by priests themselves, there should be little or no desire among young men to join this fray.
Indeed, a survey conducted from 1986 to 1996 by Human Life International (HLI) the results revealed that in orthodox dioceses there are currently nearly five times as many ordinations of diocesan priests per million active Catholics as there are in progressive dioceses.
HLI’s report (first presented AD2000.com.au in 1998) showed the rate of ordinations of diocesan priests in orthodox dioceses on a strong upward trend, while the rate in progressive dioceses, relatively low four decades ago, continues to decline. In orthodox dioceses, there were 34 ordinations of diocesan priests per million active Catholics in 1986, and 53 in 1996 – an increase of more than 50 percent. In progressive dioceses, the rate was 16 in 1986, and only 11 in 1996 – a one-third decrease. In the years, since this survey, these trends have continued.