French Priestly Vocations - The Numbers

Source: District of the USA

The situation in France is becoming dire with respect to the number of priests. “Every year 100 Priests are ordained, and 800 pass away”

This year, around the feast of the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29), diocesan priestly ordinations were celebrated in France in 22 dioceses on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26. For 2016, there were about 100 priestly ordinations: 79 diocesan priests and 18 religious, according to the numbers published by the French Bishops’ Conference (FBC), and republished by La Croix on June 21, 2016.

“While the overall number of priests continues to drop, the number of diocesan priestly ordinations is increasing,” wrote the FBC. (There were 71 in 2015.) The FBC also pointed out that this year two dioceses that had had no priestly ordinations for several years, “or only very few,” saw “a rise in their respective ordinations”: the diocese of Saint-Denis and the diocese of Vannes with 4 and 7 priests respectively.

Yet “the deficit is there, it is flagrant,” declared Archbishop Bernard Podvin, then spokesman for the French Bishops’ Conference, on December 26, 2014. “We lack vocations… When every year 100 priests are ordained and 800 pass away on French territory, it is obvious.”

According to the statistics published by the FBC, the number of Catholic priests in France has dropped by almost half in twenty years, going from 29,000 (diocesan and religious together) in 1995 to about 15,000 in 2015. According to some forecasts, there will only be 6,000 priests left in the next few years.

(sources: apic/la croix/cef – DICI #338 July 1, 2016)