I have some homework for all you readers, below. But first, this introduction.
A friend sent a link to On This Rock where there is a post about how the number of altar boys increases dramatically once all-male service at the altar becomes the norm.
“But Father! But Father!”, you are surely quipping, “Obvious point, no? Sun Rises In East… Dog Bites Man….”
However, at that blog Fr. John Hollowell did a little gumshoe work to substantiate with numbers what should be obvious to anyone still possessed of common sense.
A sample from that blog’s post:
I like statistics, so I solicited some. I’d love to have more, so if you know of a parish, drop their stats in as a comment, and I’ll add them.
I asked for parishes that made the switch to all male altar servers what their server numbers were like before the switch and what the number of servers was about a year after the switch.
Here we go:
That’s hard to argue with. The average parish surveyed, when switching from co-ed servers to male-only saw their server numbers grow 450%
As this has spread a bit across the internet, the statisticians have come out of the woodwork. I was a math major, and so let me say, first of all, that I understand that correlation does not imply causality. I had it beat into my brain in high school and college. Correlation does not imply causality, but it certainly can SUGGEST causality, and 450% change is certainly GIGANTIC change.
Secondly, some of the statistical hounds have pointed out that “the sample size is too small.”
a) I never said this was scientific
b) one person has noted that I would need 200 parishes and another noted I would need at least 32 parishes. I agree it would be great to get more parishes, but I’m not sure 32 parishes in the USA have had co-ed servers and have since switched back to only male servers.
c) If you want a “statistically relevant” study, feel free to go conduct one yourself. I don’t have time. My limited research has told me all I needed. If you want more, feel free to go get more. I’m busy pastoring a parish.
d) You may also want to ask yourself why you are attacking the above graphic – is it because you have a concern that every piece of data, even one not claiming to be “scientific” actually meat scientific standards…or do you struggle with the data presented because it upsets your personally held belief on the matter?
Thirdly, one commenter has put it beautifully – “I don’t understand why one side in this thread is expected to justify and extend the data it provides while the other gets to trot out unverifiable claims about unsampled groups and their “feelings”.”
– I couldn’t agree more! People are falling into the exact pattern that I described in my original post, even in the face of the stats above.
Let’s help this guy with his stats.
If you have a parish which has gone through this process, go to that blog and get in touch. Add to their sampling. Help them out.
PS: I know the present pastor at Holy Family in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Fine men both.