Major seminary in France closes temporarily for lack of candidates
This does not imply the closure of the seminary but rather a year of reflection on the lack of sufficient candidates, says the Lille seminary spokesperson
La Croix – Claire Lesegretain
A major seminary in France is to close for lack of candidates but the local spokesperson says this measure is only temporary and will help formators with reflection.
Archbishop Laurent Ulrich of Lille announced the impending temporary closure of the diocesan seminary, which has long trained priests for the nine dioceses of northern France: Lille, Arras, Cambrai, Amiens, Reims, Soissons, Châlons, Langres and Troyes.
“Currently it is not possible to imagine an adequate number of new candidates so it is prudent to announce that our seminary will not accept any new candidates in September 2019,” Archbishop Ulrich wrote in a statement dated March 1.
Too few candidates
“This absolutely does not imply the closure of the seminary but it will be rather a year of reflection on the lack of sufficient candidates,” a Lille archdiocesan spokesperson said.
There are currently only ten seminarians in Lille for the 2018-19 academic year, with none in first or second year.
Since three seminarians, two of whom are already deacons, will probably be ordained to the priesthood in June, the total number of seminarians is expected to fall below the minimum required by Church regulations.
So for the year 2019-20, the few students in final year, who will probably be ordained in June next year, have moved to the Metz seminary to complete their training.
According to seminary superior, Father Jean-Luc Garin, the seminarians will “alternate spending a week per month in either Metz or Lille.”
Meanwhile, fourth and fifth year students will continue their formation at the Issy-les-Moulineaux seminary in Paris.
A year after moving
The announcement comes a year after the Lille seminary moved out of its old building in the St Maurice district, which was somewhat isolated in the midst of a large park.
In February 2018, the then-thirteen seminarians and their lecturers took up residence in a house in Rue Princesse in Vieux-Lille near the city center.
“When the bishops of the nine dioceses decided on the move, they did not know how many students would enter for the preliminary year,” Father Garin continued, noting that this year of reflection before entering the seminary is no longer optional but has now become mandatory.
“They simply acted on faith alone,” he said.
The diocesan statement also noted that the bishops of the diocese were “unanimous” in praising the “exceptional quality of the efforts made by the seminary team, particularly its superior.”
Continuing to prepare the future
Archbishop Ulrich also warmly thanked Catholics from the Nord-Pas de Calais, Picardie and Champagne regions who had contributed financially to the formation of future priests.
“This support evidently will not stop now thanks to all those who wish to continue working with us to prepare the future,” he added, emphasizing the need to develop “new means” for promoting priestly vocations.
The diocesan statement also noted that the Lille seminary would remain a place of reflection on “the ministry of the diocesan priest within a missionary dynamic.”
Together with Quebec theologian, Father Mario Saint-Pierre, Father Garin, who had “traveled thousands of kilometers around the nine dioceses” to accompany young priests from rural areas, also led a training session on the issue for more than 80 priests at the end of January.
A dozen working priests
“We will need to offer a renewed vision of the ministry of the priest based on its essential missionary dimension,” Father Garin said.
“If not, how will a young priest be able to see a future in a diocese where within ten years there will only be around a dozen working priests left?” he asked.
The 14-room house at Rue Princesse will now be used as a vocational center for students and young professionals.
“It is important to demonstrate that there is always a place where we will work to accompany vocations,” Father Garin said.
However, he did not deny that “in the current heavy atmosphere, it is truly difficult for young men” to envisage the priesthood.
From the Catholic perspective France is a number of decades ahead of Ireland.
The closure of this seminary in France is prophetic for the eventual closure of Maynooth.
I do not have much knowledge about homosexuality in the French priesthood – but I imagine homosexuality is a factor.
We know its a massive factor in Maynooth where seminarians are having sex with each other, with priests, with university students and are regularly are in The Boiler House sauna in Dublin.
All there names have been sent to this blog time and time again.
The staff and bishops know all about this.
They have turned a blind eye.
Some of them are compromised themselves.
There are other factors causing the decline of the priesthood and the closure of seminaries.
The promiscuous homosexuality of bishops, priests and seminarians is way up there as a cause.