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demographics a la McBrien

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 10, 2009

The unsinkable Richard McBrien, yet again correcting the errors that he has discovered in statements emanating from the Vatican, wonders why the Holy See could ever suspect a problem with American women's religious orders. He contrasts the obtuse attitude of the Vatican with the mature wisdom of Sister Sandra Schneiders, who "insisted that the decline in the number of women religious follows the demographic trends for the greater female population."

Riiiiiiight. If I follow the McBrien/Schneiders argument, the number of women living in the US must have fallen by two-thirds since 1965, since that's what has happened to the number of American nuns. Since the overall US population has risen, that means the male-female ratio must be all out of whack. Odd that the Census Bureau never picked up on this trend. But if you young single guys are having trouble finding dates, there's your explanation!

Oh wait. I have been guilty of oversimplification. The McBrien/Schneiders is more nuanced. Listen:

Until recently, Sister Schneiders observed, the majority of women have been under the age of 25, and this was the pool from which the Church drew vocations.

Ah, now I understand. The proportion of young women in the overall female population has declined. And since the religious orders traditionally recruited young women, it follows logically that the "mainstream" religious orders won't be able to recruit any young women at….

No, that doesn't work either. I must be missing something. Gee. I might be as stupid as the Vatican.


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