France: Traditional Priests Account for 20% of 2018 Ordinations


Tradition is the future. Authenticity continues to bear fruit wherever it is permitted to take root and grow. While many within the Church still seek to limit (or in some cases even suppress) the Traditional Roman Rite and its accompanying spirituality and formative influence, it’s growth in recent years is having immediate and measurable success throughout the world. The most recent example of this is France.

As reported today by the Catholic Herald U.K. (from a La Croix article), French ordinations in 2018 paint a very clear picture as to where vocations are booming, and where they are a bust. Not surprisingly the trend is consistent with what we’ve seen elsewhere. Tradition (authenticity) is literally the future of the Church.

According to the Herald, 20 percent of the 114 men ordained to the priesthood in France this year belong to traditional or classical orders or societies. One out of five. These include three ordinations for the Institute of the Good Shepherd, two for the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and two for the Institute of Christ the King.

Compare this with the diocesan parishes, firmly grounded in the Novus Ordo Mass and post-conciliarism, where approximately 60% of the country’s 96 dioceses have zero ordinations this year. Zero. In 58 French dioceses. Zero.

As we have touched upon repeatedly here, the truth, beauty, and goodness of our Catholic faith attracts. It attracts men to hear the call to the priesthood, giving their lives in service to The Lord and Holy Mother Church. Young women also hear the call to the religious life in traditional parishes and chapels.

Despite the resistance of many within the heirarchy, even to the point of active suppression of traditional orders, the momentum is on the side of recovering authenticity. Restoring the Sacred is a movement of the Spirit. Thankfully more are beginning to discern this and are cooperating with the Holy Ghost.

Let us pray that those slow to rediscover authenticity begin to recognize what is happening. With humility and true charity may more of our shepherds support the resurgence of tradition by providing greater availability to the Traditional Mass and those orders and priests who offer it. And with this support we will begin to see an increase in ordinations, in Masses offered, confessions heard, orthodox formation, and a fighting chance for western civilization to rebuild its Catholic foundation.

Posted on July 4, 2018, in liturgy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. The data here could use some clarification. Based on the numbers provided, 72% of ordination are diocesan. 6% are from the traditionalists communities they identified. Is it really correct that of the 28% of ordinations in religious orders, its 20% from traditionalist and only 8% from renewed orders? The Jesuits I believed ordained 8 in France, that alone would take up almost all of the space allowed (one was Byzantine, so 7 if the numbers are limited to the Latin rite). Where there no Franciscans, Salesians, Marists? That seems doubtful.

    Also the eminent Fr. Z has been saying for 4 years now that 20% of French ordinations are to traditionalist orders. That is not booming but holding steady as a percentage.

    The liberal view will be that they can live with 80/20. 20% is about the amount of French support the Vichy Regime had, so things have held steady since then.

    • @Kurt Are you serious? The traditionalists are no where near 20% of France’s Catholic population! Not one of the traditional orders had no vocations, yet 58 of 96 Novus Ordo Dioceses had 0 vocations. Can you really not see the trend? Even if the traditionalists hold on to a 20 percentile ordination rate in France, they will be gaining on the Novus Ordo every year until their numbers are exactly same as the Novus Ordo attendees. Do you not understand how statistics work?

      Currently 53% of France is Catholic, but only 5% of French Catholics go to Mass on Sunday. France is a nation of 67.2 million. So, about 1.8 million Novus Ordo faithful come to Mass on Sundays. There are no where near 360,000 traditional Catholics in France! Even so, traditional Catholics usually attend mass at above 95%. The traditionalist are making huge gains on the Novus Ordo if they are ordaining at a 20% clip by any fair minded individual’s observation.

      Furthermore, in this country it is merely a matter of a short space of time. The traditional orders are pumping out 7 times the number of priests on a per Catholic basis. There is no way to fudge the priest to faithful ratio.

      • The frist paragraph should have been ordinations instead of vocations.

      • Dear Father,

        Yes, I understand how statistics work as it is part of my professional training. You’ve not responded to the question I asked about the questionable numbers. I’m interested as to who are the 14% of supposedly traditionalist ordinations beyond the 6% identified. As the Jesuits seem to take up almost all of the space left if one assumes 20% are traditionalist it seems some more data would be useful.

        My second point, which still stands, is that the number of ordinations is not booming if it is stable over 4 or more years. That is a valid statistical conclusion.

        Now, you introduce an unrelated point that has nothing to do with statistics. Maybe if 20% of the priests in France are traditionalists, over time 20% of the laity of France will become traditionalists. But you present no data for that claim and there is no statistical basis that the laity will migrate as such. Certainly the percentage of the laity allied with the Vichy regime did not match the percentage of clergy.

    • @ Kurt You do like playing loose and slippery with the facts. There is a July 2014 article where Rod Dreher did some extensive research on the Catholic Church in France. You cited Fr. Z 4 years ago, so this too is 4 years ago.

      Mr. Dreher concluded that if the ordination numbers for the Traditional Latin Mass priests and the Novus Ordo priests held their constant tack, the presbyterate in France will be more than half Traditional priests. The tipping year will be 2038. That’s only 20 years away. Remember that over the past 20 years France has lost over 7,500 Novus Ordo priests (25%). They are imploding.

      The number of priests to faithful in France is even worse than here in the USA. There, they have about 1 priest for every 2,500 faithful. Here in the USA, we have about 1 priest to every 1,850 faithful. In France (about 70 parishes) as in the USA Traditional Latin Mass parishes (about 70 parishes), there are about 1 priest to every 250 faithful. You can deny it all you want to deny it, but the watershed is coming. Just like in the 1990’s everyone poo-pooed the warnings from Pat Buchanan about the Muslim birth rate exploding in Europe and the imploding birth rate of the natives therein. He was correct then and Mr. Dreher is correct now.

      • As always, thank you Father for comments and contribution to the discussion. It is still amazing to me that people have such a disconnect from the truth and trends we are seeing in priestly vocations. Unfortunately, this is what happens when ideology supplants reason or facts. We see happening with too many bishops as well.

  2. christopher Schaefer

    Additionally, 3 French priests were validly (albeit illicitly) ordained at the ‘canonically irregular’ SSPX seminary in Econe, Switzerland.

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