PITTSBURGH — The Rev. David Bonnar was one of eight priests ordained by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1988. This year, there may be two; in 1999, there will be none, perhaps a first for this century.
But Pittsburgh, with 371 active priests compared with 467 just 10 years ago, isn't alone. Nationwide, for every 100 men enrolled in Catholic seminaries in 1965, there are only 40 today, said Dean Hoge, a sociology professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington.
And the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University reported that from 1970 to 1995, seminary enrollment in the United States dropped by half.
Hoge blamed the requirement of celibacy for the decline and estimated that enrollment would quadruple if priests were allowed to marry.