Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The picture is grim. Desperate French Catholic laity crouching pathetically in empty, decaying churches where no priest has set foot in years, no Mass been said, no confessions heard, no banns read and especially (1.98/woman) no babies baptised.

What do they do? What do Catholic laity do when they are left on their own, without clerical leadership, without the sacraments?

Do they organise ban the bomb rallies? Get together to discuss third world poverty? Do they organise discussion groups about women's ordination? Do they make felt banners and creepy giant puppets for their home-made paraliturgies?

The Pastor in Valle tells us that the Church in France, that is, the mainstream Novusordoist branch that has strangled the Faith like a clump of ivy killing an oak, is dying. No priests, you see.

The number of French diocesan priests working in France is fewer than 9000. For a number of dioceses, (Digne, 25 priests, Nevers, 38, Auch, Saint-Claude, Gap, Digne, Viviers, Verdun, Pamiers, Langres, etc) in ten years time the number of priests in active ministry will be ten at the most. In Bishop Gueneley’s diocese of Langres, the most liberal of French dioceses, one frequently finds one sole priest for 60 churches.

No seminarians either.

The number of seminarians has now fallen below the mark of 750 (740 in 2008, and this number includes a good hundred seminarians from non-diocesan communities). Pamiers, Belfort, Agen, Perpignan, &c, have no seminarians.

The future doesn't look much better:
"...a third of French dioceses will cease to exist ...within the coming 15 years.

So what do French Catholic lay people do while their bishops fiddle?

Archbishop Vingt-Trois has given a marvellous example of ‘visibility’ which was heard on Radio Notre-Dame (interview of 5th November): in a parish without a priest, the laity got themselves together to say the Rosary in a village hall: there they also had the idea of cleaning the church to recite the rosary in; so, nothing is lost; this church will live again…

Sound to me like they're doing better without them.


BillyHW said...

I'd be happier if we simply burn the churches down rather than let the Islams have them.

Anonymous said...

I'm left wondering.

If little fifteen-year old Therese Martin can get close enough to Leo XIII to beg admittance to a monastery, why can't Benedict XVI's neighbor, that demure daughter of the Dominion, Hilary White, get close enough to throw herself at his feet and weepingly plead, "When, oh when, Holy Father will you just celebrate THE Mass?"

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Not my job.

Anonymous said...


Could be, but you've got to admit, it would be fun to see on Youtube!

More seriously, though, after I posted the above tongue-in-cheek bit, being morning in these parts, I reached for my breviary to Lauds.

There I discovered whose job it really is.

I'd forgotten today wasn't merely Veterans/Remembrance Day, but also the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, patron of France.

For the first antiphon I found this prophetic bit, very much in keeping with your post:

"The disciples said to blessed Martin: Why, father, dost thou abandon us? or to whom dost thou leave us in our desolation? for ravening wolves will rush in upon thy flock."

St. Martin, pray for France.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

I've been saying this for a decade, and am sick of hearing myself, so obvious a point does it seem to me: liberal dioceses and orders are dead or rapidly dying; orthodox ones are filling up fast. Why are the bishops such obtuse ideologues that they cannot or will not see this, and change course? Is it worth killing the local Church just so that some weedy nuns don't get mad at you for shutting down their Feminist Liturgy Office and instead celebrating Mass properly?