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A Profile of Active U.S. Bishops

Taken from the CARA Report


Overall, active U.S. bishops average 65 years of age, ranging in age from 45 to 80.

On average, bishops were ordained at age 26, spent a quarter-century as a priest, and were elevated to the rank of bishop at age 52. They have served as bishop an average of 14 years.

The bishops are less diverse than the overall Catholic population of the United States, but their distribution almost exactly matches that of the Catholic population over 60 years of age; 88% white, 9% Hispanic/Latino, and 3% African American.

Although bishops overall are most likely to have received their seminary education in North America, archbishops are more likely than diocesan bishops or auxiliaries to have received their seminary education in Rome; 44% of archbishops studied in Rome, vs. 21% of diocesan bishops and 14% of auxiliary bishops.

Eighty-five percent of the active bishops were consecrated during the pontificate of John Paul II.

Sixty-nine percent of their first episcopal appointments are as auxiliary bishops, 305 were first appointed diocesan bishop, and two archbishops were elevated to the rank of archbishop upon their first appointment.

Only nine active bishops have had more than three appointments as bishop, and eight of these involved promotion from coadjutor to bishop or archbishop as their fourth move.

- Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington is the only one to have had four distinct episcopal appointments. Auxiliary Bishop of New York, Bishop of Metuchen, Archbishop of Newark and Archbishop of Washington.