Thursday, April 27, 2006

"Church in Hospice" Finally Shows the Colors

After a couple of rather bland and unexceptionable posts, "Church in Hospice" gets it into gear.

Wrong gear, but hey...gotta go somewhere, eh? After all, one can hardly be a Member of the Priests' "Union" without questioning the motives (or sanity) of the Management.

So here he goes:

A critical problem faced by religious institutions is the decreasing average talent of people choosing clerical careers in the United States. This problem is related to the declining authority of institutional religion in America's public life. When official religion was more influential, it tended to attract more gifted candidates. As the role of official religion in this country has declined, so has the prestige of its clergy and with it the giftedness of individuals entering the profession. Though average verbal and analytical Graduate Record Exam scores increased for all test takers during the 1980s, scores of prospective seminary students declined. Seminary candidates scored significantly lower that the national averages on the quantatative and analytical sections of the test. Only male prospective seminarians were lower than the national average on the verbal portion of the test.

Note well: "average" is a very interesting word--it covers a multitude of folks, doesn't it? Like for example, is there a difference between the entering seminarians of the Diocese of Lincoln and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles? Milwaukee? Peoria? Rockford? I've met several Lincoln priests, and let me tell you, these men are sharp cookies. Similarly, I've met a few Rockford priests who are younger (30's) Also bright.

Victor J. Klimoski, Kevin J. O'Neil, and Katarina M. Schuth have reported that only ten percent of all Catholic male seminarians are highly qualified for theological study. Some forty percent enter with weak educational backgrounds and learning disabilities. Added to this, many seminarians enter after having been away from the Church for many years.

And the name of the Admissions Officer(s) responsible for this is??? From professional acquaintance, I am VERY aware of the fact that 'getting the right man' is not a matter of having a web-page and sending out a letter once a year.

Now for the setup:

Sociologist Mark Chaves has pointed out that there are significant gender differences in GRE scores with females substantially and consistently outperforming males. This means that if Protestant and Jewish denominations had not expanded their ordained leadership to include women, the aptitude of prospective clerics would have declined more.

Yup. You guessed it:

The well-being of any organization depends upon its ability to attract the best and brightest into its leadership ranks. The admission of women into the clergy of other denominations has increased the aptitude of their seminarians. Rome has ruled out this possibility for Catholics. One wonders what effect making celibacy optional would have on the numbers and quality of men entering the Catholic priesthood. So far, Rome has also been closed to this option. The Church appears to prefer modestly gifted men who promise celibacy over brighter women or men who want to marry. Given these stances, the U. S. Catholic Cchurch is likely to face a continuing crisis of ordained leadership long after the sexual abuse crisis abates.

Yah, hey. Peter the Runaway woulda passed the "sociology screen" of the eminentoes listed above, hey! The Borgia Popes are another fine set of examples. For the cryin' out loud, St John Vianney was not too bright, either.

See, Father (since your Church History course didn't cover this well--you ARE a Rembertian ordinand...) the Church has persevered through all sorts of cataclysms--the general idea was stated by the Guy who said "...the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it..."

So we take the priests we are given; the impossibility of female "ordination" will remain in place, as will the rule of celibacy.

You can take the intellectualoids who 'study higher Biblical criticism'--the Bultmann/Schliermacher folks. I'll take the ones who actually know the Catechism.

And I'll get to Scotland before you.

1 comment:

Bernard Brandt said...

Of course, there was the time (early 80s) that I applied to seminary at the nearby religious order (the name has been omitted to protect the guilty). They said that I was "too intellectual" for them. But they also said that I was "too attractive" (I used to run 10K a day and used free weights to keep in shape) and that I would be "a distraction" to a number of their seminarians.

Certainly turned me off from applying to any other seminaries! I sure didn't want to "distract" those seminarians. I'm not that type of a guy.