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Saturday 28 April 2012

On trads and vocations

A commentator today on Father Z's blog drew attention to a report from Paix Liturgique, which, as I am moving back and forth between France and England for reasons of visiting, journalism and study, I am particularly interested in sharing. Here are some fascinating statistics highlighted in the study online,.

Two diocesan seminaries are always at the top of the list, ahead of many interdiocesan seminaries: those of Toulon and Paris, each at over 70 seminarians and both on the increase [2]. Naturally, this figure and increase are proportionately far more remarkable for the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon than for Paris. These results are undeniably due its bishop’s orientation: Bishop Rey, who comes from the Communauté de l’Emmanuel and is quite open both to the New Evangelization and to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. In Paris, the enrollment figures for Parisian seminarians had exceeded 100 at their peak under Cardinal Lustiger, fell to 54 in 2007, and are now undergoing a measurable upswing (74 in 2011, of which 62 are from Paris). It should be noted that the Parisian seminary now seems to be open to “all tendencies,” meaning to the most traditionalist among postulanIt must be noted that the current stability, after a slow increase, is less significant than the overall proportion: over 15% of French seminarians are generated by hardly 5% of practicing Catholics—those who have access to the traditional liturgy every Sunday. Yet for our part we believe that the number of young people intending themselves for the extraordinary form would likely increase if only the right means were provided. According to the good old principle that one loves only what one knows and practices, there is no doubt that the more the extraordinary form is offered at the parish level, the more young people who until then were ignorant of it will discover it and, should the case arise, be in a position to choose the extraordinary form when they go to seminary.
If more parishes were opened up to the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, if satisfaction were given to the desire of the faithful, and if this liturgical form were made more available for those who do not know it to discover it, then the number of “Summorum Pontificum” seminarians would undergo a considerable increase. This would have an immediate influence on the diocesan vocations curve. Why not do so?
And, I give the sensible result of the study first, so that you can put the rest of the letter in perspective.... And so, to finish, we express a wish that seems also to be common sense: that the extraordinary form of the Roman rite may find its rightful place in the celebrations of the Year of Faith that is about to begin.

[1] 20,000 seminarians in formation would be needed to make up for the dearth of priests. In this regard see Fr. Thierry-Dominique Humbrecht, L’avenir des vocations (Les Plans sur Bex, Switzerland: Parole et Silence, 2006).

[2] After these come interdiocesan seminaries totaling about 50 seminaries (Lyons and Toulouse), then those of Orleans or Issy-les-Moulineaux with about forty seminarians, then the many seminarians numbering about thirty candidates (Lille, the French seminary in Rome, the “Séminaire des Carmes” in Paris, Vénasque, etc.).

Note the connections....

Among the “smaller” dioceses, one cannot fail to point out the case of Vannes, which has about 30 seminarians, and Bayonne, which now boasts about fifteen seminarians, even though it had only two in 2009. It should be noted that in Vannes (Bishop Centène) as well as in Bayonne (Bishop Aillet, named late in 2008) the bishops may be considered to be fully in synch with Benedict XVI’s pontificate, and that this is not without some impact on the dynamism of local vocations. One may without exaggeration estimate the proportion of French diocesan seminarians who are directly sensitive to the Reform of the reform that Benedict XVI desires, including the motu proprio, at 30%. And to these diocesan seminarians must be added all those who choose to go the way of so-called traditionalist seminaries.

Thanks, to haribo, who drew this source to my attention. My comment included the fact that more NO women contracept than EF women, a statistic not scientifically proven, but learned from experience. Women talk about these things. And, family size, on average, is obviously larger among trad mums and homeschooling mums, both conservative groups giving vocations to the dioceses and religious orders, such as the FSSPs.

My other point is that the spirituality of the EF leads to a different, more God-centered life, which leads a young man to want to say the EF.

A best-seller update

An very interesting book is now number one in Islamic books in America. Here is a section from the author's interview. I taught Islamic sects in both classes on Comparative Religions and Islam at the college and university levels. I came to some of the same conclusions just by studying the Islamic texts and history, plus some really good historians, who are leading new developments in scholarship. I shall get the book this week and give my own views here on the blog. This book has to do with the historical existence of the religion's founder.

Islam is a faith rooted in history. It makes historical claims. Muhammad is supposed to have lived at a certain time and preached certain doctrines that he said God had delivered to him. The veracity of those claims is open, to a certain extent, to historical analysis. Whether Muhammad really received messages from the angel Gabriel may be a faith judgment, but whether he lived at all is a historical one. Islam is not unique in staking out its claims as a historical faith or in inviting historical investigation. But it is unique in not having undergone searching historical criticism on any significant scale. Both Judaism and Christianity have been the subject of widespread scholarly investigation for more than two centuries. Why should Islam be exempt from such examination? And is it still possible in our politically correct world even to raise such questions?

Amazon link for the book is here. Another book making waves for its comprehension and research is Islam: Critical Essays about a Political Religion.

Pray for France, The Eldest Daughter of the Faith

For those who do not pay much attention to Notre Dame, as I do to a point as an "alum", one may remember that in 2004, Tariq Ramadan, who was lecturing at ND, was refused a visa and had to return to Europe. Some of us never wanted him at the university in the first place, as he is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, son of a Muslim Brotherhood supporter kicked out of Egypt years ago, and a contentious Eurabian supporter. He lectures at Oxford and now allowed back in the States, because of the intervention of H.Clinton. Ramadan seems in the past to have wanted some sort of liberal interpretation of Islam, and an acceptance of Western law in countries in Europe, rather than the insistence on sharia law, but his views have changed, or at least can be studied for intense examination as to contradictions. That he is openly anti-Semitic is provable. Note this from the link just above. Prof. R. Scott Appleby, the man who did everything he could to bring Ramadan to South Bend, Ind., was hardly naïve about Ramadan’s European reputation. Over breakfast in New York recently, he told me: “He’s doing something extraordinarily difficult if not impossible, but it needs to be done. He is accused of being Janus-faced. Well, of course he presents different faces to different audiences. He is trying to bridge a divide and bring together people of diverse backgrounds and worldviews. He considers the opening he finds in his audience. Ramadan is in that sense a politician. He cultivates various publics in the Muslim world on a variety of issues; he wants to provide leadership and inspiration. The reason we wanted him is precisely because he’s got his ear to the ground of the Muslim world.” bold type.

The kerfuffle involving him now is whether he is supporting Hollande for the French elections coming up May 9th. France24 online has a rather amusing, if not confusing, article on the yes and no assertions of what Hollande and Sarkozy have said about the support of Ramadan. Here is the link and a quotation form the article.

Ramadan’s run-ins with Sarkozy date back to a nasty exchange on French television in 2003, when the current president was France's interior minister.
Sarkozy accused Ramadan of supporting the stoning of adulterers, and the Islamic scholar replied that he favoured “a moratorium” on such practices, refusing to condemn it outright. Sarkozy, like many French commentators, expressed outrage over Ramadan’s response.
For his part, Ramadan has maintained that he has never supported the stoning of women. “I have always opposed [stoning] by calling for a moratorium to stop this practice. My position is consistent with Amnesty International, which goes through a moratorium to prohibit certain practices, such as the death penalty,” he said.
Over the past five years, Ramadan has criticised of a number of Sarkozy’s policies regarding French Muslims, such as the banning of the burqa, a national identity debate that was widely criticized as being anti-Muslim and a controversy during the current campaign on halal food that was widely perceived as both anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant.
At the UOIF convention earlier this month, Ramadan did not specifically refer to the French president, but his message was clearly directed at him. “Instead of talking about halal meat, the burqa, national identity and dividing France, you should unite it,” he told a packed hall at the conference.

As I have said on this blog before, what happens in France will happen elsewhere in Europe. A few points from WND online: The Socialist Party candidate M. Hollande, however, is known for his desire to raise the top income tax rate in France to 75 percent, a stance that has worried investors and financial analysts as Europe continues to suffer economic difficulties.... and ...In many areas Muslim have established no-go areas where French police forces have little authority. Muslim activists are believed to support the Socialist Party candidate Hollande in an effort to halt attempts by the French right to confront Islamism in France.

I was born on the feast day of St. Genevieve, patroness of Paris, shepherdess and intrepid defender of France against Attila the Hun. I suggest a few prayers her way would be meritorious at this time.

Meditation for Priests

To live in the midst of the world without wishing its pleasures; to be a member of each family, yet belong to none; to share all sufferings, penetrate all secrets, all all wound; to go from men to God and offer Him their prayers; to return from God to men to being pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity, and a heart of bronze for chastity; to teach and pardon, console and bless always; O God, what a ministry; and it is yours, O priest of Jesus Christ.


In honor of all the good priests I know, I pray this day for Fathers Scotty L, David J., Bede R, Dominic R., Timothy F., David B., Cornelius, Stephen B., T., R., F. Hopkins, Anthony D., Terry M, Msgr, M, Monsignor H., and all blogging priests as well. I also pray for all bishops, especially Bishop Conry, Bishop Hollis, and Bishop Finn. I pray for all the priests I know who have died.