Number of Priests, SSPX, Church, Growth/Health?
#1
Below I calculated the average yearly raw increase in priests in the SSPX and Church respectively. It was just a thing to see what the "health" of either was as indicated by this number. Each of the data are just raw numbers, no subtractions for death, defections, etc., just total priests. Also, obviously, the data is limited because priests vary in quality. Less priests of high quality is more valuable to the Church than many of poor quality. This is just meant to be cursory, but I thought I'd share it. Also the years don't match up exactly.



Average yearly change in number of priests, with percentage change. SSPX.

1970 to 1982 : 8
1982 to 1987 : 20 (150%)
1987 to 1993 : 17 (-15%)
1993 to 2000 : 14 (-18%)
2000 to 2009 : 11 (-21%)
2009 to 2012 : 23 (109%)

Average yearly increase, 1982-2012 : 16
Average yearly increase, 1993-2012 : 14

Note that overall the number of priests for the SSPX has been on a continual increase since its founding, but their rate of increase was dipping until recently. If we are to take the SSPX as any measure of the traditionalist movement (SSPX, diocese, or other), then there is a bright future for it.



Average yearly change in number of priests, with percentage change. Entire Church.

1970 to 1975 : -2989
1975 to 1985 : -130 (96%)
1985 to 1995 : 127 (198%)
1995 to 2000 : 86 (-32%)
2000 to 2005 : 247 (187%)
2005 to 2010 : 1165 (372%)

Average yearly increase, 1985-2010 : 350
Average yearly increase, 1995-2010 : 499

Note that the number of priests has been on the increase since 1985, but even now the total number of priests hasn't recovered from the drop in the late 60s and 70s. There was a 4% drop in priests while the Catholic population increased 30% in the same period. Meanwhile the Catholic population has grown by 83% since 1970. This caused a great displacement in priest to faithful ratio (from 1:1557 to 1:2901). If the current trend keeps steady, it would take 306 years to recover to the former ratio and restore the equalibrium population experienced in a "boom" period. There has been, however, a strong upward trend of late, which could cut down the number of years to do this. Obviously we're not out of the woods yet, not even by a long shot it seems, but it also seems that Benedict has made a strong contribution in this direction, if we are to take number of priests as a guide.


Sources of data:
http://www.sspx.org/news/number_of_sspx_...y_2012.jpg
http://cara.georgetown.edu/caraservices/...stats.html
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#2
In general, I don't like statistics that report growth as a percentage of the previous year's growth.  I think it's misleading.  It's reporting the increase in the increase (like a decline of 130 priests equals a 96% increase over the previous year).  Wild swings are possible (as evidenced by the 372% increase reported).  I like to see the increase as a percentage of the total each year, which makes a true comparison of the overall health possible.  As you said, though, the data are preliminary and raw.  Thanks for sharing.

Incidentally, I can't reconcile your numbers with the sources you cited.  The SSPX page you pointed to is merely a graphic from which the numbers can't reasonably be gleaned.  Was there another page with the actual numbers?  As for the entire Church, those numbers don't seem to match, either.  But looking at the page for the whole Church, it was interesting to note the continued decline in total number of priests in the US.  It's been pretty dramatic over time.
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#3
There are batches of years, so the change is from averages within the batches. I also included the long range at the bottom of each to balance it out, which as you can see is a more moderate comparison. It just shows a general trend. The numbers from SSPX are drawn from the points on their graph -- when they hit 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 priests. Like I said, it is rough. There's a margin or error, but it is relatively accurate for a general conclusion. The numbers for the Church are total priests and total Catholics. Take the difference between the periods (net gain or loss), divide by the number of years.

As for "a decline of 130 priests equals a 96% increase over the previous year", it was an increase, since the decline was less. Or better stated, it bottomed out at an earlier point, somewhere between 1970 and 1975 it seems. The overall number was going down, but much less rapidly, which indicates a recovery from the deepest period of loss. I pointed out in both cases that increase was constant (for the SSPX), and since 1985 in the case of the whole Church. That is shown by the positive number.

The American numbers seem to be aligned with the sexual abuse crisis. No one wants to join a group that is being branded as criminals. The US held steady in the immediate post VII era. That's interesting too. I am sure we'll see some kind of drop in Irish numbers.
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