Over the last several months I have been acquiring old editions of The Official Catholic Directory. So far I have about a dozen covering many of the years from 1977 to 2007.
These, along with online U.S. Census data, will serve as the source material for a "data mining" project that will allow me to compare the performance of the Diocese of Rochester with any other diocese in the country.
"Performance in what respect?" one might ask. Well, each edition of the OCD contains a wealth of information for each U.S. diocese. Included are such data as the numbers of ordinations, seminarians, parishes, Catholic elementary and secondary schools, students in those schools, baptisms, marriages, and deaths - and that only scratches the surface.
A typical summary entry looks like this ...
This one happens to be the 1977 statistical summary for DOR. Later summaries include additional data, such as the number of full receptions into the Church, the number of first communions and the number of confirmations.
An example - and a challenge
To give a feeling for what is possible I have used the OCD data from 3 dioceses to calculate the number of infant baptisms per 1,000 Catholics for each diocese over a number of years.
The result, in graphical format, looks like this ...
Two of these dioceses are considered to be fairly orthodox, while the third is considered fairly liberal.
Would anyone care to hazard a guess as to the identities of Dioceses A, B and C? If so, feel free to use the comment box.
In another day or two I'll post an update identifying each diocese.
Update: It's been a couple of days and so, as promised ...
Diocese A: Kansas City - St. Joseph
Diocese B: Rochester
Diocese C: Wichita