Switzerland: Priests Have Diminished by Half since 1970

Source: FSSPX News

Martin Grichting.

On September 24, a seminar was held at a congress in Lucerne on the theme “the future of priests – priests of the future.” During the congress, a recently published study by the Swiss Institute of Pastoral Sociology [l’Institut Suisse de sociologie pastorale (SPI)] of St. Gallen, Switzerland on the status of diocesan priests in Switzerland was presented. The dossier updates the actual numbers of priests and reveals that those numbers have declined by half in Switzerland between 1970 and 2009. More particularly, during the last 20 years those numbers have declined from 2,100 to 1,400 and the average age of a diocesan priest now stands at 65 years.

Canon Martin Grichting, Vicar General of the Diocese of Coire, announced in the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung of September 25, 2011 that the requests of the faithful for baptism, marriage, or Masses have dropped sharply, more so than the numbers of priests. In addition, he explained that the demands made on all sides for the abolition of celibacy for priests or for the accession of women to the priesthood have no place because “there would still be more than enough personnel for the fewer numbers of faithful.”

More profoundly, “the Church urgently needs to return to her principal mission,” added the Vicar General of Coire. “We are a religious community, not a business ‘entity,’ not a platform for the propagation of the liberal humanism of the left.” The message of the Church is more essential, he said, “You are a creature of God called to eternal communion with God.” (Sources : apic/spi/Sonntagszeitung – DICI n°242 du 14/10/11)