The Archbishop of Sens-Auxerre says,
In almost twenty years of episcopate, I have buried one hundred and twenty priests, and I have ordained only one in the dioceses of Yonne and the Jura.If you go to the source, the Archbishop, Monseigneur Yves Patenôtre, chatters on about lay involvement and all that one might expect from a French bureaucrat, basically, 'It ain't my fault'.
I once went to his Cathedral to see the relics of St Thomas Becket, confession was offered on one or two days of the week the rest of the time counselling was offered in the same slot by Mademoiselle ...... .
It is very easy to say, "If I were Pope, I would ...." Well, I hope Pope Francis would get rid of Bishops who allow their diocese to die and rather than donning sack cloth and ashes and cry out to heaven for help, excuse themselves, finding some cunning pastoral plan to cover up their failure.
There was a rather silly myth going around among some English bishops a decade or so ago that the absence of priests was the way God was showing the Church that it needed to empower the laity. So rather than a priest bringing Viaticum to the dying or Communion to the sick, or presiding over non-sacramental prayer the laity took his place, and invariably lay women. In France it is quite normal for lay led funerals, as women 'tend to be more compassionate than men', they tend to do it. I am not sure if it is happening in parts of France yet but there are certain parts of the world where the usual minister of baptism or marriage is not a priest but a catechist, male or female, more likely female. In many places it is a way of introducing female priests by stealth.
Sens-Auxerre is one of those diocese in France where practice has always been a little poor but presumably this Bishop's predecessors managed to attract the 120 priests which this bishop has buried. The problem is that the absence of priests, though bad in itself and a source of great evils, indicates a lack of health in the Church. In France things are certainly not all bad, Paris is doing comparatively well, Frejus-Toulon has as many ordination as the rest of France -excluding Paris- as the rest of France put together. The absence of priests indicates a deep disease, a loss of faith.
Perhaps Monseigneur Patenôtre needs to examine his conscience: has he actually been teaching the Catholic faith over the last twenty years, has he demanded his priests do the same? In France more than anywhere else ideology or theological speculation replaces faith.