Statistical evaluation of the
Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands
by ir. J.P. Oostveen
Prospectives for Growth
About 12,5 years ago the Dutch foundation 'R.K. Voorlichting' (R.C. Publicity) at Oegstgeest in The Netherlands has published the report 'Prospective for Growth' a study on the development of the Roman Catholic clergy in The Netherlands.
Building a demographic simulation model by the System Dynamics approach it was pointed out that the nil option - if no policy would be change and the natural demographic process would be continued as in the years after 1970 -, the number of 2750 active priests in 1984 would be decrease to about 1550 in 2000 and a rather constant priest population of approximately 750 in 2050 would be left.
Using the simulation techniques the effects of several policy-acts are carried out:
- the pastoral activity in relation to families and adults;
- the pastoral activity in relation to the young people;
- the pastoral care of those with a vocation for priesthood;
- the training of young priests;
- the guidance of priests;
- encouraging the immigration of foreign priests and/or seminarists.
The abstract of the results are as follows:
- Alternative 1: If there should be a policy with an efficient pastoral activity in relation to families and adults as well as to young people there would still be a decrease to a minimum of about 1100 active priests in 2020. After 2020 there would be a small increase of the number of active priest.
- Alternative 2: If there should be an efficient policy of pastoral care of those with a vocation for priesthood, the training of priests and the guidance of priests a minimum of about 1400 priest should be reached in 2010. Thereafter a total active glercy of about 3100 active priest can be reached round 2050.
- Alternative 3: If the policy should be efficient on both fronts, mentioned in both alternatives above, this minimum would not only be reached earlier but also be higher to: about 1550 in 2005. Thereafter it would grow again to about 4500 active priests in 2050.
- Alternatives 4 and 5: Also there had been worked out the effect of encouraging the immigration of foreign priests and/or seminarists like the mission countries. Two cases had been simulated. As well as an average of 25 as 50 immigrations a year, both for a period of 25 years. Given these average immigration from 1987 the lowest point would round 2000 with about 1900 priests respectively in 1995 with about 2025.
Oostveen, J.P. (1986); Een dynamisch personeelsbeleid, een simulatie model ter bestudering van het verloop van het R.K.-priesterbestand in Nederland; Delft University of Technology, P.O.O.-memorandum 1986-2, ISSN 0169-4499
Working group of the 'Foundation for R.C. publicity' (1986); Prospectives for growth, a study on the development of the Roman Catholic clergy in the Netherlands; Stichting R.K. Voorlichting, Rhijngeesterstraatweg 155, NL-2341 BT Oegstgeest, the Netherlands
Oostveen J.P. and Sweeny, D.J. (1986); Prospectives for growth; a system dynamics study of the Roman Catholic priest population of the Netherlands; System Dynamics: on the move, Proc. of the 1986 International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, vol. 2, pp 1183-1199, Sevilla, ISBN 84-600-4641-9