Sunday, November 09, 2014


I've changed my header picture from that grey view of one of the piers in my parish. It is really the inspiration of the Book of Maccabees in the OF Office of Readings we have been having this week, as much as anything else.

But then there has been plenty of war talk going on in the Church at the moment, I don't know if it has been going on outside of England. Perhaps it is the centenary of the First World War and Remembrance Sunday coming up. There has also been talk of schism too, its all a bit daft, for Catholics or should we say, as I think we must nowadays 'orthodox Catholics', there is no place to go, not even Malta!

The new spirit of Relativism is as Pope Benedict says 'lethal' for the Church and for faith, just look at this little extract from Eponymous Flower:
In France, there are only 14,000 diocesan priests. About half of them are older than 75. This means that the situation is dramatic. To conduct but one parish is already a big job. In France it has become "normal" that a pastor has to take care of a dozen parishes. A regular celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is impossible. In most parishes it is celebrated only occasionally. In the diocese of Langres, each priest must take care for an average of 50 parishes. In short, it is almost resigned to a spiritual catastrophe. The numbers of priestly ordinations is also discouraging. In 2009, only 89 diocesan priests were ordained in France. Far too little to compensate for the decrease due to death. These numbers seem like reports coming from the front with the losses to an army. You could cry.
Fortunately, there is good and encouraging news coming from the seminaries of tradition. The traditional communities and dioceses have offspring. More, their seminars are full. It is therefore to be hoped that more old rite seminaries will be opened. There is no danger that they remain empty, since there is a strong interest in tradition by young believers.
France embraced the whole relativistic 'Spirit of ...' agenda as much as anywhere, except maybe Germany. The French Church however didn't have the money to turn the community of faith into an efficient business where bishops have become highly paid Chief Executives. There are some bright spots in France like the rather traditional diocese of Frejus-Toulon which has as many vocations as every other French diocese outside Paris put together. The other hope for France is its monasteries, these too are often great bastions of orthodoxy, those which aren't have died out. The highly non-Relativist 'La manif pour tous' movement has shaken the French establishment and given new hope, it is itself heavily influenced by traditional Christianity.

What is happening in France will happen elsewhere, perhaps not quite so quickly or with such a violence but in ten years time if we follow the Relativist line, Europe and the Americas will follow.  New York, for example, this week announced the closure/merger of over 100 parishes. This is going to happen all over the place, simply because Relativism is lethal, it is unattractive and hopeless, it is attractive to people of a certain generation but repells the young.

For any General involved in a Church war, my advice is to wait, maybe pray 'santo subito', because the 'biological solution' will sort most of our problems out, and much quicker than natural law will sort natural breakers out. In the interim, lest the troops become complacent let us all redouble our efforts and use all the means we have at our disposal to 'convince, rebuke and exhort', for as the Apostle says to Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.


gemoftheocean said...

IT's a siege.

This from the Irish Times:

"Spanish priest Fr Pablo d’Ors, a consultant to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, yesterday said he was “absolutely” in favour of opening up the priesthood to women."

Let's see if the Pope removes this guy or promotes him. I know where my money is.

Full article here .

"Wait." "Pray" as you say. But I would also add "fix bayonets."

umblepie said...

A sombre picture, Father, but a good post. Thank you for your honesty and courage. 'Lead kindly light, for I am far from home, lead Thou me on. The night is dark and I am far from home, lead Thou me on'
(Blessed John Cardinal Newman)

dcs said...

I don't know if Langres is the worst diocese in the world with respect to the collapse of the faith, but if it isn't, it is close, at least if the statistics on are to be believed.

Jacobi said...

The Church is in a shambolic mess at present. There is no doubt about that.

But the article in Rorate Coeli, “clergy in France is dying” strangely gives hope.

For some time I have suspected that the Catholic Orders, the “Traditional Orders”, might hold the key to the” Counter Reformation”. But the numbers, even if you include the odd but nonetheless orthodox SSPX, are so small, it really is rather silly to suggest they will have any effect.

Until that is we see the graphs in Rorate Coeli. In France, in only 24 years the number of Catholic priests (in Continuity, of course) will equal that of the Novus Ordo priests. And that does not include the growing number of NO priests who are coming to realise the continuing validity of what Pope Francis called, the Vetus Ordo, or the Continuing Mass.

The recent video by Voris shows a similar situation in the US of A. The Numbers of worshipping Catholics there, as well as priests, is plummeting. So I suspect this situation is now general throughout the Catholic world.

Now 2038, and 24 years, may seem a long way off, certainly for someone of my age. But then the shambolic collapse and mess started in circa 1965, some 49 years ago, so 24 years is not all that long.

Perhaps the collapse the in the numbers of “OF” priests is the solution to the recovery of the Church?
In just 24 years , and I suspect the graph for Catholic ordinations will rise above that shown, the Catholic or EF priests, worshipping in the Vetus Ordo, or the Extraordinary Form, the Catholic Mass in Continuity, will be once again the ordinary Mass, in an admittedly smaller Church, which will, nevertheless, be the core of the new and great Evangelisation of the second half of the 21st Century.

I wish you Godspede!

Fr Ray Blake said...

You might well say that I couldn't possibly comment but ...

Thomas Travers said...

Fr Ray, your posts are always interesting, your sympathies clear, but what are the solutions to the problems you identify? It seems that change and uncertainty bother you, but surely you are not alone? I was a child at the time of Vat II. I vaguely remember the Latin Mass, the abrupt switch to English, and later in childhood the headline in a Catholic newspaper to which my parents subscribed, ‘Pope Condemns the Pill’ or such like, and wondering, as we used Anadin and Aspirin in our multi-child household, which of these pills he was against.

Uncertainty, Ignorance and Doubt are not unique to our own era. Perhaps the challenge to the Church today is to keep its young folk in the Faith?

tigga wild said...

Looking at the graph it seems that even apart from the 50:50 situation in 2038 the indication is that the 'traditional' line reaches 1/3 in only 15 years from now.

TLMWx said...

Dead things need time to decompose!

New Catholic said...

Tigga, that is correct.

Plus, I forgot to mention it, but remember that a good portion of those in the "non-traditional" statistics will be priests in strongly conservative communities, such as the Communauté Saint-Martin, who are as traditional as a non-exclusively-TLM community can be, and priests formed in extremely conservative diocesan seminaries. That is why I said there will be a conservative majority soon, much before the possible (statistics are tricky, but possible) traditional majority some decades later.

As so often in the Church, this storm too shall pass.


Pelerin said...

The shrinking Church in France and of course elsewhere is indeed depressing.

However it has been heartening to see film of the recent pilgrimage to Lourdes of 750 French seminarians. I was surprised to learn that it is the first pilgrimage of its kind there. Seeing them en masse all in white albs filling the Rosary Basilica was very impressive and the 'group photo' extending up both stairways at the side of the Basilica too.

Watching some of the interviews with several young seminarians given recently on KTO, and the programme 'Jour du Seigneur' on France 2, one feels that there is hope for the 'eldest daughter' of the Church.

Given the figures though it looks as though 7,000 will be needed to replace those Priests over 75 - that is ten times the number of seminarians there are today. I do not know how that could be achieved - except by prayer.

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