On June 29, 2020, at the Saint Pius X International Seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, six French men will be ordained priests for eternity: but, more generally, what about priestly ordinations in France this year?
“The love for the Heart of Jesus is the priesthood,” said St. John Marie Vianney. The month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is thus the perfect time to honor the Catholic priesthood, especially since the seminary academic year is coming to an end. In Ecône, Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais will ordain nine priests on Monday, June 29, on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
For its part, the Conference of Bishops of France published, on June 22, the official figures for Presbyteral ordinations. A total of 126 priests will be ordained in 2020: 83 diocesan priests, 17 priests members of a non-religious community or of a society of apostolic life (including 11 for the St. Martin Community and 5 for the Emmanuel Community ), 21 religious priests, and 5 priests from communities celebrating the traditional Mass, who formerly belonged to the now defunct Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission: 3 candidates from the Institute of the Good Shepherd and 2 from the Fraternity of St. Peter. The French Episcopal Conference does not count the priests of the Institute of Christ the King, which has four.
What appears through this raw data is the always low and alarming level of ordinations in the dioceses. The traditional liturgy is represented, but we are far from what France would need to win back souls to Jesus Christ. The bishops hardly support Tradition, which is kept muzzled when it is not forced to come to terms with conciliar reforms and doctrinal compromises.
Following Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre who understood the importance of forming an authentically Catholic priesthood to “restore all things in Jesus Christ,” the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X declared in an interview granted in February 2019 to Angelus magazine: “our seminaries are the heart of the Society; it is built on its seminaries, and its existence depends on it. Above all, the Church needs holy priests. There is no way to find a better way to serve the Church than to train holy priests: we are cooperating for the very purpose of the whole Church.”
“This was the great intention of the Council of Trent, and the great intuition of Archbishop Lefebvre. The more this priestly ideal is devalued and lost, the more important it is to be faithful to this goal—which is part of our mission.”