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Andrew Sullivan gleefully notes that New York City had only one diocesan priest ordained this year and gleefully blames traditionalism:

The brilliant campaign of the current hierarchy to alienate their own flocks with political posturing, moral baseness, intellectual  rigor mortis , and reactionary theology, along with purging the seminaries of any gays or gay-friendly candidates, was supposed to create a more committed, more orthodox, purer,  smaller  church. It’s  working ! Congrats to Dolan and Ratzinger. Very soon they will have their church. And it will be empty.

Sullivan mistakes for weakness what is the effect of increased vigor. As Christopher White noted on this blog last month, the New York archdiocese is having a dry year because of beefed-up curricular requirements that have added an extra year to the studies of one class. From his post:
Fr. Luke Sweeney, explained the low number for this year noting that “the seminary formerly had a five-year program: one year of philosophy and four of theology. In 2006 the U.S. bishops asked for two years of philosophy; inserting the extra year caused a “gap year” in which there were no candidates.”

While dissidents within the Church may try to use this year’s low numbers in New York to bolster their calls for women’s ordination and a removal of the celibacy requirement for priests, the latest data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) reveals that ordination rates to the priesthood are at a 20 year high.

And that, friends, is why you read “First Thoughts.”

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