Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Half of France's Diocesan Priests are 75 or over

This information was published on Friday in the French daily Catholic newspaper "La Croix". It formed part of the paper's report on a recent statistical study.

There are 14,000 diocesan priests in France and the study found that 7,ooo of them have reached their 75th birthday and beyond, many of them being in advanced old age.

As for the ratio of priests to people, the national average has been worked out at one priest to every 5,200 inhabitants.

The situation in some urban dioceses is critical, for instance Bordeaux, Montpellier, and the suburbs of Paris, with for example at St. Denis, in the latter, one priest to 20,00 inhabitants.

Faced with this situation and the crisis of lack of vocations, the dioceses are calling upon non-incardinated, many of whom are not French; on Deacons; and on ordained members of religious orders. As an example at Pontoise which has 181 priests, there are 51 foreign priests (mostly Polish), 68 are from Religious Orders and only 62 are incardinated to Pontoise.

There does not seem to be any mention of the Traditional Fraternities in full communion with the Church, and which are flourishing in many parts of France, notably the FSSP (not to be confused with the SSPX). It would be disingenuous of me to give the impression that I don't know that the French Bishops' Conference seems largely against the idea of receiving any help from that quarter.

Please spare a prayer for France, the Church's "eldest daughter".

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