The Rise of the Unmarried Clericals

Young, Gay and Single Among the Nuns and Widows The Catholic Church is the largest employer in the diocese; the last year for which data is available in 2013, the number of full-time priests…

The Rise of the Unmarried Clericals

Young, Gay and Single Among the Nuns and Widows

The Catholic Church is the largest employer in the diocese; the last year for which data is available in 2013, the number of full-time priests increased by 4,700 (up 2 percent) and the number of diocesan employees by 17,100 (up 2 percent). As the Church has shifted to a greater reliance on secular sources of revenue (e.g., the sale of indulgences, the sale of church items, religious education, or the sale of religious bonds), the number of employees has decreased.

The number of women priests in the Diocese of Sacramento stands at two. Both were assigned to the Cathedral of the Assumption in Sacramento, a major campus of Catholic health organizations. The two women were Mary-Joan Harn, who was assigned to the Roman Catholic health care system in Sacramento, and Janine Lettich, who was assigned to the diocese’s school programs.

According to the most recent data for the diocese, the number of unmarried women was 15,637 in 2010, an increase of 12.1 percent since 2000. Of these, 12,871 were in the clerical ranks (the bulk of which are full-time), 11,079 were working part-time, and 1,054 were in a non-clerical position.

The most significant factor driving the increase among unmarried clericals was the decrease in the numbers of married women in the diocese and the rise in the number of single women. Thus, the increase in the percentage of unmarried women in the clergy was largely due to a decrease in the number of married women. In the same way, the increase in the number of unmarried women in the clerical ranks was due to a decrease in the number of married women.

Among married women, the most significant factor driving the number of married clericals in the diocese was the increase in the number of women working part-time, a change that occurred in the mid-1990s. Unmarried single women were also affected by the decrease in the

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