France: continuing drop in priestly ordinations

Source: FSSPX News


According to a study done by La Croix and appearing in the June 29 issue, relying on figures given by all the dioceses, 105 priests have been or will be ordained in 2005. This figure confirms the tendency of a slow decline in priestly ordinations over the last twenty years, despite a slight increase in 2000, when 145 ordinations took place. In the fifties, more than one thousand priests were ordained each year.

The admissions to the seminary are hardly encouraging either: in the past ten years, they fell to half their former level. Today, the Church in France counts 13,510 active priests. But only 3,637 of them are under 55 and in ten years, certain dioceses will have to live with less than ten priests. Over the whole of France, the decline is felt everywhere. The large university cities, where there are more young people, are, logically, faring better: Paris, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Nantes and Evry, with one exception, Lyons, where no priest will be ordained this year. In Paris for 2002, there were 17 ordinations, compared with 11 this year.

Certain diocesan seminaries have had to close for lack of students: Bayonne for example, one month ago. Others are reopening. That’s the case with Nice, but only because of a redistricting which will now include neighboring dioceses.