This article on Pastor in Valle cites some of the stats for the declining number of priests in France and the increasing number of Traditional priests. He speculates that the number of Traditional seminarians would be greater if they had the benefit of Diocesan structures.
Asphyxia on its way
1. The number of French diocesan priests working in France is fewer than 9000. For a number of dioceses, (Digne, 25 priests, Nevers, 38, Auch, Saint-Claude, Gap, Digne, Viviers, Verdun, Pamiers, Langres, etc) in ten years time the number of priests in active ministry will be ten at the most. In Bishop Gueneley’s diocese of Langres, the most liberal of French dioceses, one frequently finds one sole priest for 60 churches.
2. The number of seminarians has now fallen below the mark of 750 (740 in 2008, and this number includes a good hundred seminarians from non-diocesan communities). Pamiers, Belfort, Agen, Perpignan, &c, have no seminarians.
3. The number of ordinations remains fewer than 100 (90 in 2009—Paris, which is one of the best situated, had 10, 2 for the Emmanuel Community; 7 are predicted for 2010, and 4 for 2011)
4. 120 vocations have been declared for the class beginning in 2009.
The conclusion is dramatic: a third of French dioceses will cease to exist but will have to regroup within the coming 15 years.
Yet the majority of bishops, above all Archbishop Vingt-Trois, do not despair. Despite everything, the Church remains visible; she remains alive despite appearences. Archbishop Vingt-Trois has given a marvellous example of ‘visibility’ which was heard on Radio Notre-Dame (interview of 5th November): in a parish without a priest, the laity got themselves together to say the Rosary in a village hall: there they also had the idea of cleaning the church to recite the rosary in; so, nothing is lost; this church will live again…