Priestly Ordinations in France 2016: A New Low Point
Priestly Ordinations in 2016 in Traditional Rite: FSSP, Bordeaux
The ordinations in France take place mostly around June, near the Feast of St.. Peter and Paul (June 29) who are regarded as two pillars of the Holy Church.
The Bishops' Conference of France (CEF) announced a few days ago that about a hundred new priests this year were consecrated for the Catholic Church: 79 diocesan for pastoral ministry - a little more than 2015 (68), but less than in 2014, where 82 diocesan ordinations already hit an absolute low for some centuries.
Particularly sad is the low ordination number of religious priests, whether connected to an order or a new community: one expects about twenty.
For comparison: in 2016 the Episcopal Conference expects about 100 ordinations; in 2015 there were around 120, in 2014 to around 140; 2002 was around 200.
The decline in vocations has seriously strained the age pyramid.
The number of priests in France has almost halved in the last twenty years: from 29,000 (diocesan and religious priests together) in 1995 to about 15,000 in the year 2015.
10,000 of them are older than 65 years, 7,000 are more than 75 years old.
It is estimated that every year about 800 French priests die.
This means that the number of priests will be halved again within less than 15 years. In the long term about 3,000-4,000 priests are expected in France.
The ordinations are distributed very irregularly over the diocese: the Archdiocese of Paris with 11 ordinations is, of course, in the lead; However, it is closely followed by the dioceses of Vannes (7) and Fréjus-Toulon (6), the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bordeaux (5) and four in Lucon en Vendée, Saint-Denis and Versailles. There are also five ordinations of the Communauté Saint-Martin in Évron (Mayenne). This priestly community was once in talks to take over the monastery abandoned by Benedictines, Abbey Weingarten (Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart). The project was of course very quickly discarded because of the expected "lack of acculturation".
The other dioceses in western France follow the sad country trend: two new priests in Quimper, one each in Bayeux, in Rennes, Nantes and in Laval.
In the diocese of Coutances, Séez, Saint-Brieux, Angers and Le Mans there are no ordinations this year.
It is striking that there are those diocese best known as traditional friendly diocese, have the most vocations: Fréjus-Toulon, Vannes, Lucon and the more conservative communities such as the Communauté de Saint-Martin in Évron (Mayenne).
In addition, the communities of tradition are brought in, including the Fraternity of St. Peter , the Institute of the Good Shepherd (Institute of the Good Shepherd) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, whose new priests are to be ordained in the traditional form of the Roman Rite.
"The seminarians reflect the sociology of practicing Catholics."
This dynamic development as pleasing also, at the moment is rather limited; and it will not be enough to reverse the negative trend.
This slight optimistic situation seems not to be of interest to Church leadership anyway. In particular, there is no re-evaluation of recent modernist practice up for debate.
Some Catholic journalists are of a mind that only a complete zero would be reached before it can lead to profound reforms.
As the Belgian example shows that is very doubtful:
The number of priestly ordinations had fallen to zero in the four northern Belgian dioceses (except Bruges) years ago without bringing any reaction from Cardinal Danneels.
At the same time, Danneels issued a decree by which the Flemish seminarians who were studying in neighboring countries (diocese 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands), - in spite of the shortage of priests returning to northern Belgium, was banned. The Dutch were incidentally very grateful for these Flemish priest exiles.
Danneels' successor, Archbishop DeKesel, is acting in the same spirit.
Although there is a shortage of priests in Belgium and particularly in Brussels, with the pending closure of churches in the coming autumn, Dekesel has expelled the Priestly Fraternity of the Holy Apostle established by his predecessor, Archbishop Msgr. Léonard, in Brussels (with currently seven priests and 21 seminarians) on 30 June 2016 from the Archdiocese, on the grounds that the majority are French.
They don't just want bankruptcy, they want naked, yes a stark naked collapse.