Editorial: Saint John Marie Vianney and "The New Priests"

Source: FSSPX News

Les Nouveaux Prêtres (The New Priests) published by French author Michel de Saint-Pierre in 1964, describes the new generation of clerics who, at the height of the conciliar storm, “identified opening to the world with a conversion to secularization,” according to the recent and belated admission made by Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. To open the Church to the world, as John XXIII wished, was it not to expose it to the danger of espousing its spirit?

What are the results of this conversion today? Before the Council, in 1956 : 825 priests were ordained in France; twelve years after the end of the Council, in 1977: 99 were ordained for all of France. During the pontificate of John-Paul II, the annual average number of ordinations was between 100 and 140. Since 2004, this average number has often been less than 100 ordinations per year. There remain 15,000 diocesan priests in France, only 10% of them are less than 45 years of age. The average age of the remaining priests  in many dioceses is  around 75 years. Such is secularization in progress!

The Year for Priests which Benedict XVI has just opened,  is placed under the patronage of the the Curé of Ars. The French daily La Croix merely considers him as “a 19th century country priest, whose popular fervor advocated the spirit of sacrifice and the fight against the devil” and wonders: “What can the example of John Marie Vianney and his figure of a typical Council of Trent priest bring us? How can young priests draw from him answers to the challenges of today’s urbanized and secularized society?” The answer of the Curé of Ars is the same as that already given by St. Paul to the Romans (12: 2): nolite conformari huic sæculo, “be not conformed to this world, if you wish to transform it under the action of divine grace.”

Fr. Alain Lorans