Thursday, April 4, 2013

How Many Leave the Institute?

Update: On the Spanish web, the high attrition among IVE priests is a recurring theme and rightly so.  Such a high number of people leaving after ordination indicates a real problem within the order.  Not a minor problem, but a fundamental one - especially considering how new the congregation is.  

What we wrote below we wrote very early on in our investigation.  Since that time we have seen more documentation and data.  All of it supports the 40-50% attrition number we arrive at below, though it suggests that the total number of both current priests and those that have left is higher than our original estimates below.  

There are only two groups that likely have access to the exact numbers: the IVE leadership and the Diocese of Segni-Vetrelli in Italy where they are headquartered.  Given the IVE leadership's issues with the truth we'd be reluctant to take anything they say at face value, but if you speak Italian it wouldn't hurt to contact the diocese of Velletri-Segni in Italy.  The Vicar of Clergy there may be able to help.  

Below is our original post:

One question readers ask is "If it's so bad, why don't more people leave?"  The answer is that many, many do.  

Priests are leaving the Institute of the Incarnate Word early and often because of the same problems we highlight on this blog. 

A tremendous number leave during formation, though - we would argue - not through the usual process of discernment.  A large number of IVE priests leave as well (even former Superior Generals).  We calculate this number to be greater than 40% and potentially over 50% (see below for more info.) 

This isn't simply a case of "living in a fallen world".   This is a spectacularly high rate of a attrition for a religious order.  It's especially striking because it's such a young order.  They've barely been ordaining priests for 20 years and already such a high number are leaving.  It's not just an example of people breaking vows either:  many still feel called to the priesthood - just not with the IVE.  In fact, there are single dioceses in the US with as many as 6 ex-IVE priests.  

At least 40%, but potentially greater than 50% of all ordained IVE priests have left

Let us explain how we arrive at the attrition number above (also covered in our "Irregularities" page.)  The IVE for the past several years has claimed a number of around 350 priests.  We believe this refers to the number ordained, not the number that are still in the order.   If you look at their number of parishes (96), multiply that by 2, and add in a few for the seminaries and "monasteries" and you arrive at around 200 active priests.  200 out of 350 means 57% stay, 43% leave.

Since the "350" figure has been used for a while and since they are ordaining new priests every year, the actual number of priests ordained should have grown.  This means the real attrition rate should be even higher then the 43% we estimated above.   We do know that the early class of 1996 saw 9 out of 17 leave the IVE, giving a 53% attrition rate (<-- Use Google Chrome to translate this link), which is probably what the long-run rate will look like.

The Institute covers this up, because admitting this drop-out rate would undermine their carefully crafted image of a "young, joyful, growing order."

Given these readily available facts it is strange the IVE remains adamant about the "350" number.  Of course, admitting to the problem would potentially do a lot of damage to their image and their recruiting, but it seems a serious enough issue that it should at least be disclosed to those "discerning" with the order.  That does seem the ethical thing to do, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, that's not how the Institute of the Incarnate Word operates.  In the end they only do what is good for the Institute:  they deny and hide the truth and attack anyone who tries to expose the problems or help those hurt by them.  The IVE does everything it can to maintain the image of a healthy, happy, growing religious society when the reality is quite the opposite.

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