FOUR men entered seminary in all of IRELAND this year – UPDATED


From a reader:

Hi Father, long time follower, I would like to respond to your remark on Ireland. Perhaps I don’t need to register to tell you about the good news in Ireland.
Before Traditionis Custodes, the ICKSP is progressing well with multiple location under Canon Lebocq.  Their sisters are coming in too. We are blessed by an Oratory in Formation in Dublin, The FSSP in Waterford. The Benedictines of Silverstream are growing year after year. In my own city of Cork, we have the Dominican who have restored the Dominican Rite, the SSPX, the Traditional Mass in our Parish of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Our Catholic Scouting Movement is growing fast and hopefully it will have the same effect for vocation and catholic families as it does in France (particularly for the traditional catholics). My point father, even when things look dark, our Lord is helping us. The remain of Catholics in Ireland are waking up and praying praying praying. You are a good Beacon for us. Please, communicate this little hope growing in Ireland for us. The terrible Abortion referendum has also served as an electro choc … We are counting ourselves yes, but like in my native France we are seeing a deeper catholic conscience emerging from an Irish catholicism which had transformed into a mere social behaviour without any debt. Vocations to seminary are few but vocations to more traditional order are growing (Dominicans, Benedictines, Oratorians, ICKSP, SSPX ….). And some of our dear bishops start to pay attention. We must pray even more than ever for them.

Published on: Oct 1, 2021


Remember what Benedict XVI recommended to Ireland?  It wasn’t complicated.

Friday penance.
Fasting and prayers.
Read Scripture.
Perform works of mercy.



Ireland, unlike Ninevah, has not changed.

I saw at The Irish Catholic that, in Ireland, all of Ireland, FOUR men entered seminary this year.  Dioceses, 26.  Entrants, 4.   TWO more for the Neo-Cats, whom I would guess are not from Ireland.  Just a guess.

I’ll bet you just about anything, that the bishops in Ireland will make no changes whatsoever.   They won’t even consider thinking outside the box…which is the real inside of the box: Tradition.

If the bishops everywhere were to redo their seminary curricula to be along the lines of what Canon Law and a couple other key documents insist on, teach what Vatican II really says along with the rest of tradition, get rid of nearly every prof and start over with the faculties, get the women and lay students out of the programs, and require traditional sacred liturgical worship, the trend would reverse – sharply.

But they won’t.

I am reminded of what my old pastor Msgr. Schuler said when the Archdiocese was projecting an extremely dire priesthood shortage in the future and refused to do anything at the Hell-hole of a seminary except to make it worse.  The powers-that-were put out a message about how there would be consolidations, blah blah blah.  “It’s like they would rather sit around and starve to death than plant crops.”

Apt for Ireland.

Bishops far and wide would rather see their parishes and dioceses fall to ruin and sold off rather than try TRADITION.   They would rather watch them burn them down and the smoking holes filled with salt, than try TRADITION.   They would, in fact, light the fires themselves.

So, no… keep doing the same thing.  Stay the course!  Everything’s just great.

And let’s cancel more priests!

The state of the ecclesial suicide pact is strong!

I suspect that numbers of applicants will drop in these USA now that the needlessly cruel  Traditionis custodes is out.

Meanwhile, I hear that the SSPX seminary in Virginia welcomed 46 new men this year.  If that number is off, I like some correction.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Chrisc says:

    Pitiful. Sin makes you stupid and weak.

  2. Chrissin says:

    Of the four are any for traditional orders?

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  4. PatriciusOenus says:

    The SSPX seminary in VA has at least one advanced seminarian from the Republic of Ireland. I wonder if there are Irish candidates in the other traditionally oriented institutes, too.

  5. JerseyCatholic says:

    Last Thursday I had finished up my hour praying outside an abortion clinic in Hackensack, NJ when a mom and her 22 year old son walked up for the next shift of prayers. She introduced him – he was such an attractive young man – and mentioned that next week he was leaving for the seminary. When I asked which one, rather than mentioning a specific location or name, he said it was a seminary in Virginia. His mother added that it was traditional. I knew immediately what they meant. I told him I would remember him in my prayers. He was 22! There is hope.

  6. Charivari Rob says:

    The linked article wasn’t very specific or complete.
    It’s probably talking about just Maynooth (the one remaining regular seminary on the island) along with the NeoCat, but doesn’t go into whether those numbers include any study abroad or other programs.
    The Irish seminary in Rome suspended some operations (including new admissions) in June of 2020. Apparently, it is/was the last of 34 foreign seminaries for the formation of Irish priests when it wasn’t possible in Ireland (dating back to 1600’s). I haven’t found any indication yet that they have resumed full operations.

  7. The liberals I used to know in the ’90s and early 2000s welcomed the priest shortage because they thought it would force Rome to start ordaining women and married men (but especially women) in order to cure it. Build Back Better.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”

    JerseyCatholic: Good news.

  9. Kevin says:

    Our Coped Crusaders, the ICKSP, now in three owned locations in Ireland and also have the use of another, are doing an incredible job coming to our rescue. Largely due to the dedication and tireless work of Canon Wulfran Lebocq. Praise God and His Blessed Mother.

  10. ex seaxe says:

    That’s four diocesan candidates, plus the two NeoCats. And maybe novices in the religious orders. Maynooth is now the only diocesan run seminary, Armagh’s seminary is run by the NeoCats. I see that the NeoCats now run many diocesan seminaries worldwide, 9 in the USA. But I am totally unclear where the NeoCats will be incardinated, are they sponsored by their diocese ? I note that these seminaries (Redemptoris Mater seminaries) make a feature of having international seminarians.

  11. jaykay says:

    PatriciusOenus: yes, there are Irish seminarians in the ICKSP seminary in Gricigliano, Italy. In a strange echo of history, they have to go abroad to receive Catholic formation. Except that this time around the persecution is homegrown.

    Funny old thing, history…

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    Thank you, ex seaxe.
    I read up a little on the Redemptoris Mater seminaries after your post to refresh my mind. We have them here in Boston, too, but I haven’t interacted with any of their activities recently.
    Their seminary websites emphasize being diocesan and missionary. Upon ordination, some time assigned in the diocese where the seminary is, then eventually sent on mission. I’m not clear either on incardination – for example if an international is eventually permanently assigned to his native territory.

  13. Jim says:

    As least Ireland has a seminary, in Ireland, for now.

    In Scotland: there are no seminaries left.

    There is the Royal Scots College formerly at Madrid (as of 1627); translated in 1771 to Valladolid; now (as of 1988) at Salamanca;

    or there is the Scots College, Rome (as of 2009) –

    But in Scotland itself: nothing.

    What would we have done without the “new Pentecost” of Vatican 2 ?

  14. PostCatholic says:

    Things have definitely changed. I attended St. Patrick’s in Maynooth as a seminarian. I don’t know how many students the Unitarian Church in Ireland (3 congregations, one forming congregation) or the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian churches (Northern Ireland) we have, total, but I suspect it’s also probably somewhere around four. Then again, there are many fewer churches.

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  16. hwriggles4 says:

    Redemptoris Mater has a seminary in my diocese. I have met at least four priests who were trained in the Neocatechumical Way (two served our parish as parochial vicars and one is now in Seminary formation, another is a pastor) and I find them to be solid priests. Maybe they can shake up Father Anything Goes.

  17. Semper Gumby says:

    A classic 2017 headline from the Irish Times: “Priests told to stop calling bishops ‘spineless nerds and sycophantic half-wits’”

    Yesterday’s Men’s Rosary in Derry:

    Ireland’s annual Coastal Rosaries continue, this year on October 10:

    Small Rosary groups continue to meet regularly outside cities at places such as Mass Rocks.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    Never a dull moment in Europe. The Leftist Irish government is picking a fight with Eastern Europe.

    “Under anti-family parties Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party, Ireland has pursued an aggressive foreign policy which has sought to damage the efforts of Poland and Hungary to implement ways of helping couples to take care of their children…”

    “Now, the Irish government have joined in on the anti-Polish bigotry.

    “Their propaganda arm, RTE, has now also used the term ‘Polish Concentration Camps’. RTE are funded by a mandatory tax which Irish people must pay or face imprisonment. Many of the higher ups at the station are heavily connected to the government and the ruling parties, through family and other connections.”

    Meanwhile, in Ireland there is an ongoing investigation: a maternity hospital in Cork shipped organs of stillborn or dead infants, without the parents knowledge, to Belgium for incineration. The hospital assigns blame to “Covid-19.”

  19. ChesterFrank says:

    Ireland really isn’t Ireland, it’s just a small region of the much more inclusive european union. contrary to logic the inclusive union does not increase diversity, it minimizes it. catholicism is what i heard described as “a fringe minority.” i imagine that statement is also true in ireland. i also imagine the catholicism of the future will mirror the rubish that is being promoted today. the only difference is that instead of it being promoted by protesters and politicians, it will be promoted by bishops and priests. that is what is already being done today. wasn’t there a quote in the bible about salt loosing its flavor?

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  21. ex seaxe suggested that Maynooth is a diocesan seminary. It isn’t. It’s national, run by Trustees, who are a subset of the diocesan ordinaries. It has been revamped in interesting ways recently. The president is no longer responsible for the seminary, there’s a separate rector for that. The old guard of the Pontifical University theology faculty are retiring and losing ground, steadily. The conference on Dei Filius last summer showed where the new men are going – eodem sensu eademque sententia was heard in the wild and explicated by someone other than that doughty warrior Fr John Hunwicke! The philosophy faculty had been a chimera for years, being just the secular Maynooth University’s department wearing a “Sorbonne toga” once a year. Real appointments have been made including an American trained in the University of Dallas, and a hardcore Thomist, one of the last Scholastic philosophers out of Queen’s Belfast. The Pontifical faculties are showing signs of good growth, although I would not paint that picture in too roseate a hue. However, if the seminary expires, the Pontifical University might yet continue – and looking at the current direction of travel, that would be no bad thing.

  22. Andrew Hollingsworth says:

    Almost all of the seminarians seem to be from the province of Armagh. I wonder why the figure are extreme.

  23. MichaelS says:

    To give a little perspective, Ireland has a population of ~5 million. I live in Maryland with 6 million with ~2 dioceses (Baltimore plus parts of Washington and Wilmington, DE). Baltimore has 5-7 per year in formation.

    So on a population basis, Ireland is based, especially for an allegedly Catholic country, but not as dire as I first thought. Maybe they don’t need 26 separate dioceses.

  24. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Re: the comparison of Maryland to Ireland by MichaelS. The problem with your analogy is that only 15% of Marylanders are nominally Catholic, while the Republic of Ireland is 80% nominally Catholic. In other words, Ireland has >5x Catholics per capita. Taking that discrepancy into account, the Church would appear to doing quite a bit better in the Old Line than in the Ould Sod.

  25. Charivari Rob says:

    The chart from the article is for Ireland – the whole island, not just the Republic. Overall population of Ireland is at least 6.6 million, approximately 2/3 Catholic.

    So… 39 in formation as “regular” diocesan, 18 more for NeoCat. Could be worse, but not that good.

    Yes, 26 dioceses is a lot. I thought they had put together a scheme to consolidate to 15 or 20, but I guess that was just somebody’s wish list. I’ve been told that having so many traces back centuries to when there were many small kingdoms on the island.

  26. Charivari Rob is right about the dioceses; they date back to the Synod of Kells circa 1060 iirc. A judicious program of amalgamation might be in order but given how fiercely territorial we Irish are, it would take a huge effort to make it work.

  27. Charivari Rob says:

    Eamonn Gaines, I’ll go out on a limb (especially easy since I’m speaking from a comment box and a different country) that a hard deadline of 2060 should be set for reorganizing the dioceses: Once a millennium – Whether they need it or not!!!

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