- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

More Catholic priests in U.S. foreign born

This year’s new crop of Roman Catholic priests in the United States has an average age of 35 and includes a large number of foreign-born priests and men who entered the seminary with college degrees, a study shows.

The survey, closely watched because of the country’s well-documented priest shortage, was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Researchers gathered information from 282 seminarians, or about 60 percent of the 475 candidates for the priesthood in 2007.

Although final numbers will not be available until next spring, a rise in ordinations is possible. This year’s projected class would be an increase over 431 ordinations in 2006, according to Georgetown researchers.

Even so, ordination classes remain smaller than in decades past. The total number of priests serving in the United States has declined 29 percent in the past 40 years while the Catholic population has grown 40 percent.

Among the characteristics of the 2007 class:

• One in three candidates for the priesthood was born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Vietnam, Mexico, Poland and the Philippines.

• Seven in 10 report their primary race as white or European-American. Asian priests are overrepresented when compared with the U.S. Asian population, while Hispanic priests are underrepresented.

• The average age of 35 is approximately the same as in 1998, the first year for which data are available.

• More than six in 10 completed college, and one in five had attained a graduate degree in areas such as law, medicine and education.

School can use state job-listing service

PITTSBURGH — A Christian college in western Pennsylvania and a faith-based coalition can use a state-sponsored job site specifically to hire Christians, according to the settlement of a religious-discrimination suit.

Attorneys for Geneva College in Beaver Falls and the Association of Faith-Based Organizations of Springfield, Va., filed the federal suit over Pennsylvania’s online CareerLink job listing site last December. The state and federal governments were named as defendants.

The plaintiffs argued they were wrongly denied use of the employment service, which includes an Internet-based service called CareerLink. The service has a nondiscrimination policy barring job postings that require applicants to have particular religious backgrounds.

“Religious job requirements can’t be singled out for exclusion from a public job listing simply because they are religious,” said Timothy J. Tracy, an attorney for the Christian Legal Society, who filed the suit along with the Alliance Defense Fund.

Shop owners drop angel from T-shirt

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — In keeping with a local economy that features “Polygamy Porter” beer, a suburban Salt Lake City coffee shop thought it was being funny with a recent T-shirt design: The angel Moroni blowing a trumpet, tipped ever so slightly as coffee pours into it.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not see the humor. Not only is Moroni revered — Mormons believe he appeared to church founder Joseph Smith — but church members are discouraged from drinking coffee.

Van Lidell and Ed Beazer, owners of Just Add Coffee, say they use humor to set their 41/2-year-old business apart from the competition. A Starbucks opened next door last year.

“We didn’t do it to be mean,” Mr. Beazer said. “We didn’t do it because we’re anti-Mormon. We did it because we thought it was funny.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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