U.S. Roman Catholic ordination class older, more educated

Posted: Friday, August 13, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) Men who became American Roman Catholic priests this year were older and better educated than previous ordination classes, and more of them came from other countries, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

The percentage who were not from the United States rose from 24 percent to 31 percent between 1998 and this year, and came mainly from Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and Poland.

The average age rose from 35 to 37 in the same period.

The share of men without a bachelor's degree before entering the seminary dropped from 30 percent to 22 percent, and the number with a degree beyond a bachelor's rose from 13 percent to 28 percent in the same period.

The survey was conducted by Dean Hoge, a sociologist at the Catholic University of America who has studied the priesthood for three decades. He based his findings on interviews with 336 respondents from dioceses and religious orders.


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