SSPX Bp. Fellay claims Pope Benedict says the TLM privately

The fellow who sent the following added the mordant comment that if any Italian bishop were to resign because the Pope said the traditional form of Holy Mass, that would be reason enough for him to do it.

The English is rough and ready in the following but the meaning is crystal clear!

Pope Says Mass Privately Says Bishop Fellay

*Bishop Fellay says, " the Holy Father celebrates the old Mass privately" and that an Italian Bishop has said he will leave the Church if he celebrates it publicly. Bishop Fellay said this in a speech at the 2010 priestly ordinations.*

(Kreuz.net) Pope Benedict XVI. And his secretary George Gaenswein celebrate the old Mass. This is according to the General Superior of the Society of Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, in a speech in the 8th of July in the Brazilian city of Bahia. [I wonder if the Holy Father also serves at his secretary’s Mass.  That would not surprise me in the least.  He is the sort of humble fellow who would do such a thing.]

You can listen to the speech on the page ‘4shared.com’ under user ‘fbmvm’.

This celebration will not be done because of inner-Church resistance against the old Mass.

Msgr Fellay also mentioned in his talk an example of the battle against the Roman Rite.

At a priest conference in Italy reported a priest, that his bishop had threatened to leave the church if the Pope ever publicly said the old Mass. [Arrivederci, Eccellenza Reverendissima!]

Msgr Fellay: "The Bishop leads a war against the old Mass." Simultaneously, he sees a line of good Bishops and priests,

At least the heart is in the right place said Bishop Fellay about Benedict XVI., that he has a Catholic heart and loves tradition, but suffers from a progressivist understanding.

Benedict XVI. is trying to save the Vatican Council at any price.

The Bishop also said that part of the Roman Curia and the neoconsevative led State-Secretariat have torpedoed traditional initiatives of the Pope.

As an example the Bishop described the traditionally restored Trappist Abbey of Mariawald in the German Alps.

The Pope had already permitted them to return to the old discipline and liturgy. Actually the secretary of State has intentionally set the Decree aside. [I believe that.]

Indeed the Bishop sees also that there are a great number of Prelates in the Curia who are well-disposed to the Society Pius X. In the Cathedral of St. Peter’s there are 20 old Masses celebrated daily. [Maybe not 20 every day, but there are quite a few.]

*Three Examples for the Decline*

Finally, Msgr Fellay illustrated the decline of the Church since the Vatican Council with a few examples.

He cited a chancellor of the Diocese of Trier. He has made known that 80% of the priests in the diocese deny the real presence of Christ in the Host. [I doubt that.]

In the Diocese Langres in north-east France every priest is entrusted with 60 parishes. [60?  Prove it.]

In the United States the number of religious men and women have shrunken to 10% of their original numbers.  [That can’t be right.]

Kreuz.net has the details.

And remember: Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity!

A WDTPRS biretta tip to Eponymous Flower!  o{]:¬)

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51 Responses to SSPX Bp. Fellay claims Pope Benedict says the TLM privately

  1. Henry Edwards says:

    If indeed his public celebration of a TLM would elicit the resignation of one or more unworthy bishops, is that alone not sufficient reason to just go ahead and do it? Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  2. Dan O says:

    Since the last half of the speech is so full of probable errors, I wonder if the first part must also be taken with a grain of salt.

  3. Ismael says:

    “”In the United States the number of religious men and women have shrunken to 10% of their original numbers.””

    No way indeed! :P

    Some of the statements in the article can be refuted by looking at the CARA report (Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, from the Georgetown University)

    Numver of religious priests: 22,707 in 1965 and 12,811 in 2010 (decrease of ~43%)

    Diocesan Priests: Diocesan priests 35,925 in 1965 and 27,182 in 2010 (decrease of ~24 %)

    In total there is a decrease of ~32% in total number of priests.

    On the pther end: number of parishes INCREASED 2 % since 1965 and there are 20.0 million more Catholics in america since 1965.

    Also the number of Permanent Deacons has increased about 1850% since 1975

    This is the US alone.

    In the WORLD number of priests decreased only 2.5% since 1965, but while the nr. of religious priests mainly decreased the number of diocesan priests has increased.

    The number of Catholics increased 78% (almost doubled!).

    Data from: http://www7.georgetown.edu/centers/cara/CARA%20Services/requestedchurchstats.html

    ====

    “”In the Diocese Langres in north-east France every priest is entrusted with 60 parishes. “”

    That sounds ludicrous…

    It is not uncommon for a priesty to haggle perhaps 5-6 parishes in zones VERY LACKING of priests… but certainly not 60.

  4. Ismael says:

    “to haggle” I meant to ‘juggle’ sorry :P

  5. Ulrich says:

    I would always doubt the news on kreuz.net, they once also published a fake document
    http://www.kreuz.net/article.10348.html
    that would have changed the music in mass to become more conservative (as a result of that (obviously) the Vatican published new norms regarding the use of Vatican Symbols).
    Radio Vatican und the German Conference and the Austrian Conference of Catholic Bishops distance themselves from kreuz.net.

  6. Ulrich says:

    addition: he Vatican published new norms regarding the use of Vatican Symbols [b]and titles etc[/b]

  7. gilisme says:

    I what the Msgr. said has any truth, then it appears as if there are two(2) Popes of the Vatican II church, H.H. Benedict XVI, and the Vatican Sec. of State.

    Holy Mary pray for us!
    Gil Ferguson

  8. Horatius says:

    Ismael, the numbers are odd, however much they correct the source at hand in the post: less than 1/4 attend weekly Mass. That alone puts the percentage of Catholics relative to the population into sad view. Especially if the 22 percent number means that they seldom attend Mass, what work needs to be done in the Church becomes only to obvious.

  9. pewpew says:

    Cathedral of Saint Peter?

  10. Leonius says:

    Ismael you would need to add into your numbers the numbers of religious who are not priests.

  11. Leonius says:

    Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700—–a 90 percent decrease. Index of Leading Catholic Indicators

  12. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Henry:

    The Holy Father could install a special door in the Apostolic Palace which would have one of those hydraulic mechanisms that closes a door *very slowly.* If someone asks why, the Pope could say, “I plan to say a public EF Mass. And if any bishops come and tell me they’re leaving, I’ll tell them to use the special door, because it will not slam their holy arse on the way out.”

    I cannot believe a bishop, however, would speak like that to the Holy Father. Perhaps a new word must be invented, “episcotrash.”

  13. luiz says:

    The portuguese version is quite different. For example, in the brazilian blog “Fratres in Unum”, we read:

    “Há determinadas dioceses na França, onde um pároco chega a ficar à frente de mais de 60 paróquias.”

    “There are certain french dioceses where a priest is in charge of more than 60 parishes.”

    I will listen to the original audio and make some commentaries here.

  14. moon1234 says:

    How about running the numbers and including the increase in population in your numbers?

    1965 US Population 194M
    2010 US Population 308M

    An increase of 114M People.

    While at the same time the number of religious has decreased. If you account for the change in the per capita number of religious I think you will find Bishop Fellay’s numbers are closer to the truth. While the USA still has many Priests, the number be capita has decreased. One more reason to do away with the permanent deaconate.

  15. So a -31.7 percentage change in the number of priests is something to rejoice about? I guess in comparison. I guess if someone tells you you are about to burn down your house, you can always point out to him that the shed out back will be perfectly untouched.

    However, you are using the statistics erroneously, so I don’t think your way of approaching them is any more legitimate than Fellay’s hyperbole (not to mention, that what he said could have been misquoted and then mistranslated… can anyone comment on the actual speech?).

    One has to take into consideration the average age of priests. That has increased. I believe now the average age of a Catholic priest in the United States is close or over 60 (can someone provide verification). This means that we are about to experience a surge in population decrease of Catholic priests within the next 20 to 30 years.

    You also misuse the population statistics.

    There is one reason, and one reason only, for the increase in Catholic population and parishes in the United States: Immigration from Latin America. Deo Gratias! because population growth among Catholics of European lineage, like the greater population of the US, isn’t adequate enough to sustain the same population over the next two generations.

    Worldwide Catholic population growth is caused by the same factors that has caused overall world population growth. Actually Catholic population growth is lagging far behind overall population growth for the same period. The estimated world population in 1960 was 3 billion. It is now estimated at just under 7 billion. If Catholic population has only increased by 78% and the rest of the world has increased by over 100%, there are fewer Catholics per capita today than there were in 1965. This demonstrates a shrinking of the Catholic Church among the general population, not growth!!

  16. Leonius says:

    The translation may not be accurate upon looking at the German.

    “In den Vereinigten Staaten ist die Zahl der Ordensleute seit dem Pastoralkonzil auf zehn Prozent der ursprünglichen Zahlen geschrumpft.”

    This seems to be talking about religious orders not the number of priests/religious men and women.

  17. Ismael says:

    @ moon1234

    I linked the whole data. If you see the procentage of Catholics in the USA decreased from 24% to 21% from 1965 till now.

    That is ALSO stated in that statistics (which I linked, hint hint)

    The point is that the number of religious people did NOT decrease by 90%!!

    @ Leonius

    Although the number Graduate-level seminarians decreased from 8,325 to 3,483.

    Of course this is not good news at all, since it’s a decrease of almost 60%.

    “Ismael you would need to add into your numbers the numbers of religious who are not priests”

    If you go with your pointer over the link (did anyone click on it….?) you will find that data too (it’s by no means a shrinkage of 90%)

    @ David Werling

    I think you are reading something I did NOT write. I did *ADD THE LINK SO PEOPLE COULD LOOK AT IT THEMSELVES*.

    1- I did not say at all I was ‘happy’ about the decrease anywhere (so I do not know how you come to that conclusion… maybe youy are happy? I’m not…)

    2- I did not abuse the statistics. I stated NOWHERE that the procentage of catholics is increasing in the US or the world. If you read it somewhere it is not in my post.

    I know very well that the increase of Catholics depends on incresed of population or immigration.
    The same in the world. The nr. of catholics has almost doubled but even more so the population (decreasing the catholics from 18 to 17% overall according to CARA)

    The point is that the total number of priests has decreased while the total number of catholics have increased (so making priests more sparse)

    I did not say that ‘number of priests are increasing’ or that the decrease is slowing down.

    That “This means that we are about to experience a surge in population decrease of Catholic priests within the next 20 to 30 years.” it is well known.

    Also like in the statistics I linked “This demonstrates a shrinking of the Catholic Church among the general population, not growth!!”

    It shows that generally the catholics are slowly shrinking compared to the total population (like I said above).

    Once again the LINK: http://www7.georgetown.edu/centers/cara/CARA%20Services/requestedchurchstats.html

    Before you flame look at it.

  18. Priest to Catholic population ratios in the US:

    1 priest for every 778 Catholics in 1965.
    1 priest for every 1641 Catholics today.

    No matter how you slice it, you can’t make these statistics look positive.

  19. You are really touchy if you think I was flaming you. Fr. Z can decide on that. My post was simply pointing out that Bishop Fellay’s hyberbole doesn’t change the fact that these statistics are dismal and that there really is very serious crisis that, whether we like it or not, dates back to the inauguration of the post-Vatican II reforms.

  20. MargaretC says:

    Considering the source, I’d take all of this with a lot of salt…I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the Holy Father does say the TLM in the privacy of his own chapel, perhaps in the company of a few sympathetic colleagues. But from what I’ve read of Bp. Fellay’s remarks in the past, I think he may be exaggerating here.

  21. Randii says:

    Something smells fishy with all the obvious errors in the article.

    BTW, the Catholic percentage of the US population has been falling. If it were not for immigration and the large number of Catholic immigrants the US church would have seen a collapse in numbers similar to what the Episcopal church has in America.

    It used to be that the majority of US mission dioceses had growing Catholic populations but the latest Extension magazine reports that now only 34 of 82 US mission dioceses have growing Catholic populations.

  22. Lori Pieper says:

    I would tend to take the whole thing with a lot of salt too. Bishop Fellay doesn’t give his source for the information, and he doesn’t exactly hang out with the Holy Father a lot – so how would he know how he celebrates Mass in private?

    I have also seen a documentary about the Pope’s day, including a Mass in his private chapel, and he seems to be celebrating the OF there, from what I could see (the scene was very short).

  23. In 1965, the number of priests and religious in the US was at an all-time high (up till then), and so was the number of Catholics. Tons of guys came home after WWII and hit the seminary, who never would have dreamed of such a thing without the war. Tons of Catholics were also born after the war, and many of them were just old enough for the religious in 1965. Many of them also seem, objectively, not to have belonged there; they would probably have bounced back off the religious life even without the Sixties and Vatican II.

    This is not to say that we don’t have a problem. But World War II and the Baby Boom were both weird situations that aren’t likely to repeat themselves any generation soon. If Vatican II had never happened, the WWII priests would still be dying off; and so would the Baby Boomers be beginning to do so.

  24. Moon1234… The permanent diaconate has nothing to do with the decline in the number of priests as far as I can see. It is totally ridiculous to make that correlation. Men come to the priesthood in their early adulthood while men come to the diaconate no earlier than the age of 35 and most often many years after that. I just can’t see young men thinking that they would rather wait 15-20 years to become ordained and then “settle” for the diaconate. If you are intimating that deacons are side-tracked priests who just couldn’t do without sex and so settled for the diaconate, that is also absurd. It’s a backhanded argument that says married priests will fix our vocation problem, and I don’t think there are statistics to back that up.

    I think the lack of vocations has many roots.

    1. Too many priests who were ordained prior to the 1970’s left because they thought the Church would eventually let them marry. They probably never should have been ordained because they obviously were not properly disposed to the priesthood. This gave the impression in the 70’s and 80’s that the priesthood was not worth sacrificing for.

    2. The effeminisation of the Church hasn’t helped at all. Priests aren’t seen as strong role models or leaders any more and too much of the post-VII catechesis focused on feelings instead of the Council’s call to actually internalize the faith as well as memorize it. Yes, God is love. But that is the starting point or the ending summary. Not the totality of what needs to be taught.

    3. Finally, you so rarely hear about vocations being preached from the ambo. If we don’t promote vocations and encourage them, how will we get them? This includes praying for them and having holy hours for vocations. The only time most of our kids hear about priestly vocations is when a priest is asked to talk to an entire classroom of kids about all kinds of vocations, not just priestly. And this is usually only done at the sacramental years when children receive first communion and confirmation.

    Disclaimer: I am a 44 year-old candidate to the diaconate and, God willing, will be ordained to the permanent diaconate in August 2012. None of my classmates and none of the deacons I have met have ever said they would have become priests if the diaconate had not existed. Many of the older men had been in seminary after high school and it wasn’t for them. None said they decided to wait for the diaconate instead. The diaconate almost uniformly has been a very late call in the lives of deacons, well after they were married. The only exceptions I know of to this are two of my classmates. One is single. The other has been married about 2 years to his second wife (first has passed). His new wife tells the tale about how God spoke to her while at Adoration that she needed to help him become a deacon. Now she is.

  25. Pardon me, if you will.
    I think we have to be careful about what Bishop Fellay “reportedly” says.
    Call me cynical; I just think we have to be careful.
    It would not, in the least, surprise me if our Holy Father celebrated the EF in his private chapel; if Msgr. G also did; it is certainly something that would be appropriate and fitting for the way Pope Benedict has defended and nurtured the celebration of the ‘usus antiquior’.
    I pray that he will be able to celebrate the Papal EF one day in all its splendour.
    It’s not surprising, either, that there is an opposition to this, esp. in Italy (where I understand the EF is not exactly appreciated in certain sectors).
    But when he does celebrate the Holy Mass, in any venue, it is obvious that the interior values and the authentic understanding of what Holy Mass truly is becomes apparent.

  26. Geoffrey says:

    I can believe that His Holiness occasionally says Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, but just how would Bishop Fellay know this?

  27. Tim Ferguson says:

    Another aspect of the statistics, when people speak of the decline in the number of priests, is the quality (granted, something which is difficult to quantify). While the number of priests ordained in 1965 was clearly higher than the number of those ordained in 2010, I look at the priests I know who were ordained in the 60’s and the priests I know who are getting ordained now and, in the main, believe we are getting much higher quality priests now than then. I would much rather have 5 solid, orthodox, mature and traditional priests than 50 groovy, creative, innovative and flighty priests.

  28. Henry Edwards says:

    Bishop Fellay doesn’t give his source for the information, and he doesn’t exactly hang out with the Holy Father a lot – so how would he know how he celebrates Mass in private?

    I suspect Bishop Fellay has spent more time with the Holy Father than most of us. At least one of his essentially private audiences with Pope Benedict has been reported publicly. It is hard to imagine that the Pope might have casually mentioned his own TLM experience?

  29. Mitchell NY says:

    If this is true I do not see how the Bishop is a supporter of the Papacy in general. If the Holy Father wishes to say Mass according to the 1962 Missal for all the Faithful, no Bishop or Cardinal should threaten him with such things as leaving the Church. How is that for the better of souls in his care? I really wish the Holy Father would just say the Tridentine Mass and get it over with. Let the chips fall where they may. If this Bishop or others are going to leave the Church and the caring for souls then they probably are not good Pastors anyways. And I think the blackmail or threats will probably subside after it becomes a real, living part of the Papacy, not just Catholic parish life. Why leave it to a successor to be left with this decision? With all that Pope Benedict XVI has given the Church he truly has not fled from the wolves. This would be the perfect example, and he likes to lead by example, of how the Tridentine or Extraordinary Form indeed is a living part of the Church. If he did not “fall” upon issuing SP he will not fall from offering this Mass which has nourished the lives of the Saints and Catholic Faithful for centuries. For all the naysayers, the Holy Father has much support. Perhaps less vocal than a cowardly, manipulative Italian Bishop, but we the are strength in numbers. Rome will offer this Mass again someday, and we will see our Holy Pontiff celebrate it himself. What Pontiff and when remains in the hands of God, but it will happen. It would be nice if history forever records Papa Benedicto’s strong and brave issuance of the Moto Proprio , SP along with his celebration of said Mass referred to in his MP.

  30. T. Ferguson: I agree wholeheartedly.
    One poor priest can do untold damage.
    One holy priest can affect many, many souls to strive for holiness.
    It is not statistics that matter, really; they do have a place. But holiness of priests, even in smaller number is a great grace for the Church.
    The Cure of Ars, held up by Pope Benedict as an example for all priests, made a difference in such spectacular ways in some “po-dunk” precinct because he believed, he loved, he served and he knew in his heart what being a priest really means. God grant all of us who are bishops and priests that grace!

  31. Ismael says:

    @ David Werling

    I never said things were going well… >.>

    But we must keep hope nonetheless…

    “You are really touchy if you think I was flaming you. ”

    Ok I apologize then.

    “these statistics are dismal and that there really is very serious crisis that, whether we like it or not, dates back to the inauguration of the post-Vatican II reforms”

    Well we are certainly facing a time of crisis… and things look bleak… perhaps soon a time of open persecution as well (for now we are only persecuted “indirectly” in the western world).

    Yet, are you saying that Vatican II reforms are responsible for this religious crisis? I am not sure if that is the case.

    In the 60’s and 70′ there have been a lot of social revolutions that have since then strongly secularized western society…
    This I think is the main cause of why Christianity is losing faithful.

    After all the youth is now bombarded with anti-religious media, either on TV or the internet… and it is logical that many of them are led astray.

    As far as (don;’t have exact statistics this time) I know the protestants are doing even worse, even if they ‘modernized’ and secularized as well (except for the Evangelist Churces who are on par with the Catholics I think…) and the Orthodox Church, which has always had married priesthood, is not doing well either.

    Well we’ll see how it ends…

  32. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Z,

    Can you give us any insight into the internal machinations of the Roman Curia? For example, why would the Holy Father tolerate the Secretary of State setting aside a decree on the Trappist Abbey of Mariawald? What is it about the political maneuvering within the Curia that can affect critically important appointments, decrees, etc. when the Pope seems to be so obviously in favor of them? How is it that these liberals can so effectively mute the supreme power of the Pontiff?

  33. The statistics are way off, that’s for sure. It does not surprise me that the Holy Father would celebrate the EF privately. I hope one day he’ll celebrate it publicly. Nor does it surprise me that a Bishop would leave of the celebration of a Papal TLM…we’ve got to pray for our Holy Father

  34. Maltese says:

    Msgr Fellay: “The Bishop leads a war against the old Mass.” Simultaneously, he sees a line of good Bishops and priests

    Almost sounds like the nun from Our Lady of Akita, where the Modernist Bishop drove the seer out, although the statue of Our Lady crying was seen by the then good Bishop, and the apparition was approved by then Cardinal Ratzinger. But my point is this: Our Lady at Akita said bishops would be against bishops, and as successors to the apostles, that is a chastisement greater than any natural one.

    The Church is in a terrible mess, but the mess is solvable! That’s the good news!

    The bad news is that priests will have to get off their asses and learn the mass that the great Cathedrals were built for; by that I mean, of course, the Traditional Latin Mass!

    Come on, good-men Priests, stand-up and fight for Tradition!

  35. Maltese: I don’t have any idea how many, but there are a good number of priests who “are getting off their asses” and learning the Traditional Mass! In a few years, it will be more evident.
    And you are correct; it takes a lot of concentration, effort and will to learn and offer the “usus antiquior”; sometimes, I am really worn out (I have health problems, nevertheless) after a sung Mass in the Traditional Form, you feel like you’ve given yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
    That, I’m afraid, is the real problem; it takes effort and real concentration.
    I’m not knocking the OF, at all, I offer it regularly, and attempt to give myself as fully as I can, concentrating and meditating upon what I am actually doing; but the Traditional Mass is something that requires more. If you’re going to offer it properly, interiorly, mindfully.

  36. Geoffrey says:

    “…priests will have to get off their asses…”

    Wow. Classy.

  37. Tom Ryan says:

    I wouldn’t blame the permanent diaconate for everything.

    http://tinyurl.com/originsofthecrisis

  38. becket1 says:

    “And remember: Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity!”

    And Bishop Fellay is the liberals and progressivists worst nightmare.

  39. becket1 says:

    Three Examples for the Decline

    Finally, Msgr Fellay illustrated the decline of the Church since the Vatican Council with a few examples.

    He cited a chancellor of the Diocese of Trier. He has made known that 80% of the priests in the diocese deny the real presence of Christ in the Host. [I doubt that.][ I don’t one bit. Europe the land of secularization and the growth of Islam. It will be real interesting when these two groups start going at it. Islam isn’t as forgiving as Christianity].

    In the Diocese Langres in north-east France every priest is entrusted with 60 parishes. [60? Prove it.] [ How dare you question his Grace Bishop Fellay ]. [ I think both Bishop Fellay and Pope Benedict XVI have a master plan worked out.]

    In the United States the number of religious men and women have shrunken to 10% of their original numbers. [That can’t be right.] [ Sure can be, compared to before Vatican 2].

  40. becket1 says:

    I think that some day that plan will be fully revealed when Pope Benedict XI (Pope of Christian Unity) steps out on the papal balcony with both Bishop Bernard Fellay on one side and Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow on the other side. Boy I would love to see the expression on the liberals and progressivists faces then.

  41. Jerry says:

    re: moon1234 – “While the USA still has many Priests, the number be capita has decreased. One more reason to do away with the permanent deaconate.”

    I don’t understand your reasoning. Are you suggesting the existence of the permanent diaconate has had a significant impact on the number of priestly vocations? If so, what evidence is this based on?

  42. Lori Pieper says:

    “At least one of his essentially private audiences with Pope Benedict has been reported publicly. It is hard to imagine that the Pope might have casually mentioned his own TLM experience?
    Comment by Henry Edwards — 17 July 2010 @ 5:41 pm”

    I wasn’t aware of that private audience, and yes, of course it’s possible that the Pope could have made such a remark Perhaps the Bishop didn’t want to betray a confidence by giving the Pope himself as a source. But that’s still a lot of “ifs”!

    I don’t doubt that Benedict could indeed be celebrating the EF privately. But a public celebration of it, I suspect, would be very divisive, so he might not want to do it.

  43. Bornacatholic says:

    Bishop Fellay says, ” the Holy Father celebrates the old Mass privately”

    I know I am nuts (The Bride regularly reminds me of it) but why on Earth doesn’t he just offer the EF Publicly?

    Seriously.

    Just do it, Holy Father.

    That one act would do more to restore that Sacred Glory to its rightful place than would 10,000 more Encyclicals.

  44. Joseph says:

    Religious down to 10% sounds unbelievable? I wish it were only that. In my dioceses here most of them are gone by now all together.
    Or perhaps ask our new head for the congregation of bishops Card. Quellette what he saw for 7 years in Quebec in numbers of religeous there.

  45. catholicmidwest says:

    It’s possible he’s not just using elementary arithmetic on the 1965 numbers, but rather using ratios of population from that number, something like a pro-rata based on priest-parishoner ratios. This would produce a much larger number of vocations lost than would the simple grade school calculation ((1965pop-currentpop)/(currentpop))*100= ~43%.
    After all, you realize, even birth-control-using Catholics manage to have some kids and the lay population appears to have, in fact, grown.

    And Fr Z, I don’t doubt that there are places, especially in the likes of Germany, where it’s possible 80% of the clerics no longer believe in the Divine Presence. And it’s also possible that a chancellor might say that even if it’s not true or even marginally true. That’s not something I’d doubt either. [You might even get that in some places in the US.]

    As for the 60 parishes per priest:
    This is probably an overstatement, although Langres is a diocese with a peculiar history. As late as 1990, this diocese had 548 parishes, not counting the Cistercian monastery within its boundaries. At the same time it had 99 diocesan priests, so 5-6 parishes per priest as of 1990. Circa 1998, those 548 parishes were merged rapidly to 31 parishes total. Currently there are only 53 diocesan priests in the diocese, all of whom may not be assigned to a parish. Probably some are in the chancery or assigned to other things.
    http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dlang.html

    If there are only 10 priests acting as parish priests (not probable because a low percentage of 53), and 548 historical churches (not having been closed but remaining for one reason or another), then it would be possible to have 60 parishes/priest. Recall that the tendency in some European parishes is to leave the buildings open, but to use them for tourist venues and community functions-meetings, musical performances and so on. How many are still open, I couldn’t say without going there. It’s also possible that “parish” is an extra-ecclesial term in France, as it is in our Louisiana. A church merger, thus, would not obliterate the geographical description of 548 parishes.

    Langres is said to be the most progressive diocese in France, and the official Catholic population is dropping like a rock there. It’s not clear how many people are said to be Catholic and not practicing or said to be in the progressive congregations but really attending SSPX chapels.

    The Catholic church routinely inflates membership numbers as all religious groups seem to do, our estimates made worse by the fact that seriously no one really does the math when it comes to those leaving vs those coming in. Not even in the states.

  46. catholicmidwest says:

    “There is one reason, and one reason only, for the increase in Catholic population and parishes in the United States: Immigration from Latin America.”

    Actually, David, that’s not true. The statistics are inflated by the way they’re done. We count nominal Catholics and Catholics-long-gone-out-the-back-door as existing Catholics. The second largest religious group in the USA is actually ex-Catholics, many of whom we still count as Catholics.

  47. YadaYada says:

    60 parishes

    Yes, a “parish” can also mean even the little ten seater top of the mountain chapel (meaning pilgrimage shrine altar with a roof over it). An actual parish can three or four normal churches and dozens of these other constructions they call “parishes.”

  48. Henry Edwards says:

    60 parishes

    At any rate, the report of French parish priest(s) responsible for 60 parishes (in whatever sense) is not original to Bishop Fellay. I recall seeing this figure some time ago in a post on a different topic having nothing to do with the SSPX.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t know that the permanent diaconate has a direct bearing on the number of priests that are ordained; in fact, I kind of doubt it. Rather, I think the permanent diaconate might have more to do with the deep confusion many Catholics have about the topic of VOCATIONS in general. And the number of permanent deacons sure can have a lot to do with the amount of sheer BS catholics have to put up with–some (not all, but some) of them are progressive crackpot wannabees. Seriously.

  50. Jerry says:

    “And the number of permanent deacons sure can have a lot to do with the amount of sheer BS catholics have to put up with—some (not all, but some) of them are progressive crackpot wannabees”

    The solution to this problem is to improve candidate election and formation, not to eliminate the permanent diaconate (as another poster suggested).

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Maybe you are correct, but it’s a tall order in the Church nowdays, where there are a lot of motivations and some of them are really, really odd.