Races to and away from the bottom: 20% of priesthood ordination in France are traditional

This morning I saw some tweets about new priests:

And…

And

And

In contrast….

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

Traditionalist priests now account for 20 per cent of ordinations in France

The number of new ordinations in France has fallen this year, from 133 in 2017 to 114.

According to figures from La Croix, 82 of these new priests are diocesan, while the rest are members of various orders and societies of apostolic life.

Paris and Bordeaux are the dioceses with most ordinations – six each – however, this still marks a considerable decline for Paris, which had 10 in 2017 and 11 in 2016.

Lyon, Versailles and Fréjus-Toulon follow with five each, then Evry with four.

However, a total of 58 dioceses had no ordinations at all.

In contrast, the “traditionalist” communities, where priests primarily celebrate Mass in the Old Rite, are continuing to grow. La Croix calculates that 20 per cent of new priests this year come from communities classed as “traditional” or “classical”.

These include three ordinations for the Institute of the Good Shepherd, two for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and two for the Institute of Christ the King. Younger priests are particularly well-represented among these groups.

La Croix also reports that France has witnessed a rise in late vocations in recent years as the number of older people studying for the priesthood steadily rises. These include the new Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, who entered seminary at the age of 39.

A survey by the French bishops’ conference of first and second-year seminarians in 2016 found that four per cent were aged 36-40, while a further two per cent were 41-45. This means that by the time they are ordained, around a dozen will be 42 or older.

It is a race to the end, I think.   We will see a huge drop in congregations as millennials entirely tune out and the number of priests drops… that is, the number of non-traditional or tradition-resistant priests drops.

However, 20% of ordinations in France came from traditionalist communities.

Another interesting thing to look at is where new priests come from in US dioceses.  Are they American born and raised?  Are they native to the diocese or to the region?  In other words, are some dioceses producing local vocations and others not so much?

Please share!

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17 Responses to Races to and away from the bottom: 20% of priesthood ordination in France are traditional

  1. Antonin says:

    France has never been very reliable politically -too many ideological swings and this is just another illustration of the wild swings that occur in that culture. They have produced their fair share of intellectuals but postmodernism and postructuralism emerged from there as well, Far better to turn gaze to England which in many ways is more culturally aligned with USA.

  2. frthomashoisington says:

    The Diocese of Wichita, Kansas ordained ten priests this May. In May 2017 the same diocese ordained… ten priests. All of these are local men (although I think one came from a town in Oklahoma near the Kansas border). That doesn’t include men and women who grew up in this diocese and have been called to consecrated life in orders such as Clear Creek and the East Coast Dominicans.

  3. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    These numbers do not seem to include the priestly fraternity of Saint Pius X…if we add their number of French priestly ordinations I wonder what the proportion of trad priests out of total priests would be…..

  4. MrsMacD says:

    @Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda; It seems that the SSPX in France didn’t have any ordinations this year, yet, but they did have 16 new seminarians;
    http://laportelatine.org/seminaires/Flavigny/flavigny.php

  5. ejcmartin says:

    0 in this diocese, 1 last year (age 60+), 0 the year before that. This from a diocese almost exactly the same size as Lincoln NB

  6. Fr. Reader says:

    @Atra Dicenda….
    Obviously it is not that they forgot to add them. They did not want.

  7. monstrance says:

    Curious what the Paris numbers were in 1950 or 1960

  8. Kevin says:

    ICKSP – The clearest sign God hasn’t abandoned Ireland. Indeed, it’s a sign of the depth of his love.
    Praise God

  9. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Hence the indecent rush to ordain married priests. It is the only way of shipping in large numbers of non-traditionalists

  10. Robert_Caritas says:

    An important piece of information which is being overlooked here is that the Communauté Saint Martin does not celebrate the extraordinary form, and they account for almost half of the tradition-friendly ordinations in France this year (8 out of 18).

    They are considered traditional because their habit is the cassock, and they use a good deal of traditional liturgy, theology and spirituality. So they are not traditionalist, but probably the closest to what Benedict XVI had in mind when he formulated the hermeneutic of continuity approach. I think the same could be said for a great deal of the seminarians being ordained in France this year.

    So if we take this into account, something like 10% of France’s new priests are traditionalist, and probably about 50% follow a version of the Ratzingerianism. Another 30% probably hold to a weaker version of this (only partially open to tradition), and another 10% are progressive. So the future in France is not looking so much traditionalist, as Ratzingerian.

    In my experience, this is a very important difference, as these people are generally able to evangelise many more different kinds of people than traditionalists. I know four converts who came to the faith through traditionalism, in large part through the liturgy, and were later alienated by the communities they found there (or didn’t find, for two). One left the faith, two have persevered searching elsewhere in the Church, and I haven’t heard from the fourth in over a year. On the other hand, the evident dynamism, joy and overall attractive qualities of the priests of the Communauté Saint Martin tend to warm even progressives up to tradition. I have been deeply impressed by several that I have met. From a French perspective, it’s pretty clear where the future is.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Antonin says:

    France has never been very reliable politically -too many ideological swings and this is just another illustration of the wild swings that occur in that culture. They have produced their fair share of intellectuals but postmodernism and postructuralism emerged from there as well, Far better to turn gaze to England which in many ways is more culturally aligned with USA.

    How did politics enter into a topic about recent ordinations?

    Since Vat II Fontgombault has created four new abbeys, including Clear Creek. And a few years ago their monks were invited to take over the dying Abbey of Wisques. This has been happening while other religious houses had the motto

  12. robtbrown says:

    Will the last to leave turn out the lights?

    The Church didn’t collapse in England the way it did in the US. On the other hand, England has had very little influence on on Catholic life in the US.

  13. Thorfinn says:

    A few simple charts would tell a much simpler story than these confused write-ups. How do they categorize the Community of Saint Martin, for instance? Just lay out the numbers – the story is clear. But the bishops don’t want to share the data, nor does CARA in the US, without putting their own spin on it.

  14. Antonin says:

    rotbrown

    What does politics have to do with it? Everything. It was said at the time of VII that you could ascertain exactly where any bishop or priest would land in terms of reform by simply asking them their opinion of the French Revolution.

    Since the French Revolution – French secularism has continued very very strongly. I can think of no country where they have such a passionate interest in the secularism promulgated from that revolution.

    There is a small minority that clings to the older form and these are likely this traditionalist movements. In any other country that high a frequency would reach a critical mass in terms of tipping point but not in France and that is due precisely to politics and their overall adherence to secularism as a strong value in contemporary French society

  15. robtbrown says:

    Antonin,

    The French Revolution was more than just politics. It was cultural–virulently anti-Catholic. It even changed the names of the days of the week

    In fact, the Church flourished in France after being restored as an institution despite a secular government. She continued to flourish until Vat II and Paul VI.

    The Church flourishes when her leaders are true to the Catholic vision. That was the case in Poland during the Communist occupation and in the US during a more or less neutral secular government. It was true in Ireland during the occupation when there were underground seminaries that sent their men to Spain when they were ready to study theology

    And it is true now with the FSSP and Clear Creek despite the encroachments of secular culture on the post modern mind.

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    “In contrast, the “traditionalist” communities, where priests primarily celebrate Mass in the Old Rite, are continuing to grow. La Croix calculates that 20 per cent of new priests this year come from communities classed as “traditional” or “classical”.”

    That is heartening.

    Speaking of Ireland and a possible impact on future vocations (but not to contradict Kevin’s excellent comment), here is a curious item from the Irish Sun last month about the Minister of Children and Youth, Katherine Zappone:

    “Katherine Zappone has studied witchcraft and its power to raise the “psychic energy” of participants and create a more “sustainable and peaceful planet”, the Irish Sun has learned.

    “And Patricia Weston, who has written about spells and magic, says the Independent politician is more understanding and compassionate due to her exploration of the pagan tradition.

    “Her [Zappone’s] 1991 book reveals she took part in rituals facilitated by Starhawk, a witch and neopaganism feminist, and the theologian Mary Daly. [Others here would know more about Mary Daly than myself, but this might be the Mary Daly of Boston College.]

    “In the opening chapter, Zappone wrote: “I have participated in Christian feminist rituals, rituals facilitated by Starhawk, and rituals with Mary Daly where we celebrated the presence of earth, fire, air and water in our lives.”

    https://www.thesun.ie/news/2669449/childrens-minister-katherine-zappone-praised-by-top-white-witch-for-her-interest-in-the-wicca-tradition-and-studying-witchcraft/

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