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.


Of course the bishops turn a blind eye to the antics in maynooth. They turn a blind eye to everything concerning their own. Sure don’t u know they are special and we r just fools ?? 🤣🤣🤣. Buck eejits they are


Naturally. An agreeable second career in retirement beckons. We upgrade middle-aged, middle-class laymen into the clergy.


There is now shortage of retired teachers in England, who wants to be tied to the same church each weekend when the healthy go around the world on a cruise ?


+Pat: I acknowledge that you admit that “other factors” diminish priestly vocations in addition to the promiscuity you highlight.
But you don’t expand on what these other factors might be.
Is it reasonable to suggest that young men now growing up in a better educated multi cultural society are now not much incentivised towards RC clerical life being aware of its current apalling low public image/status.
More significantly, I think the younger generation are now less susceptible to “cradle catholic ” indoctrination and ignore the sham that is religion. It’s certainly not an attractive “career option” for many.


Pat, we are living in a very changing culture and history. Whatever about scandals, and they are a contributing factor, the reality is that as history evolves, so too do religious realities, belief systems and our understanding of humanity, culture and social norms. The access to education and work opportunities have also influenced people’s perceptions of church, faith and the place/role of religion. Undoubtedly the church scandals have affected people’s trust, faith and loyalty. It is part of the narrative but it’s a constant theme of yours to single out the scandals as the sole reason for a falling away of vocations. There are so many changes taking place in Irish society that it’s inevitable that our view of religion and faith would be impacted. You and I may not have chosen priesthood if we had other opportunities back in the 70’s!! What excuse would we give then? When I was ordained late 70’s I began to notice rapid changes in society within 10 years with a corresponding change in church attendance, people questioning more, feeling freer to dissent, choosing their own understanding of faith and its implication for their lives – and all of these before the eruption of the sexual abuse scandals. It’s too simplistic to attribute the changing landscape of our Church to abuse scandals. Western Christianity is changing rapidly. As a priest I don’t bemoan the challenges or changes in our Church or society. Those of us who care – (and despite your cynical attacks on priests – there are many) – must work with greater effort to effect real, relevant and meaningful Christian communities, despite the difficulties. You should try to see other realities beyond your nasty, defined agenda of cynical, poisonous negativity. Thank God I arise each day in gratitude to God for the possibilities for doing good of some kind. I am a positive rather than a boring, destructive cynic!!


A sound and perceptive analysis A.@ 12:44, going further and expressing better some of my own views as at 12:04.


You seem to forget, 12 44 that Pat has rightly focused on a cancer within the church that is blocking any chance of renewal. Pat may be coping with burdens but he is one of the few seeing the wood from the trees which so many don’t want to look at.


2.22: To a point you are correct about Pat and his criticisms about the Catholic Church but if you read his agenda carefully you cannot but conclude that he is utterly cynical, dismissive, unjustly sneering and accusatory towards practically all priests, often without proper analysis. His blog all too frequently unleashes a tyranny of contemptible, hate language against priests. He carries too much of a vengeful spirit and sadly it skews his judgment. Critical analysis and debate are imperative for all who truly care about the Church and a Christ-like community. I and many, many priests focus on what’s possible and do our best against the tsunami of negativity and nastiness which Pat encourages. Pat should learn a little more tolerance, respect and mercy…. I rarely allow cynicism or nastiness be my guiding principles. They are counter priductive. Where and when possible, let’s embrace the potential for true renewal in Christ.


It is, nevertheless, principally about those scandals. And not just those, but about the way priesthood is perceived by the general public. Their pastors are seen now to have feet of clay; they are no longer reverenced.
The mystique of priesthood has been pulled off to reveal the ugly reality underneath.
It is no wonder your bishops fought so long, hard and dirty to conceal the sexual abuse of children by priests. It had nothing whatever to do with the avoidance of ‘scandal’, but with the inevitable loss of, not authority, but power these men would have experienced.
And what is a Roman Catholic bishop without power? He’s a ridiculous, workshy cretin who likes to dress like women.


Vatican Two is the cause and effect, the new Pentecost ?Dont worry it’s all going to be about wonderful lay ministries from now on and that will really pass on the faith …


Utrecht Cathedral in the Netherlands is about to close. The Dutch Catechism and the spirit of Vatican II working their magic again. Maynooth is profitable because of renting out the vast campus, the bed and breakfast business, plus the presence there of Trocaire and the episcopl conference offices, so it won’t close for a while, unfortunately.


Dear 6.46 a.m.
You may well be confusing the cause with the effect. The Vatican reacted violently to the situation in the Netherlands which produced the highly-regarded and pioneering Dutch Catechism, by Paul VI’s vetting every line of it and his insistence that an appendix would be inserted to boost its orthodoxy. Following that, John Paul II’s imposition of reactionary bishops in the Netherlands further alienated the Catholics of that country and caused a crisis deeper than that of the production of a book.


Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Archbishop of Utrecht, had previously estimated that, by 2028, when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75, his archdiocese would have no more than 20 churches in use. In his most recent comments, he lowered that number further to 10 or 15. Yet today the archdiocese, which is about as large as that of Birmingham, has more than 250 church buildings in use.


“… thirteen seminarians and their lecturers took up residence in a house in Rue Princesse in Vieux-Lille near the city center.”
Not far from Sauna Les Bains and L’Eden Sauna, or Le Sling for their extra formation activities.


@11.33pm of course there’s another new candidate in Clogher for permanent deacon. He’s another of Peter’s cronies……the whole thing in Enniskillen is incestuous – nothing more than a small clique involving the PP, a curate, the CoI dean and two permanent deacons. The poor bishop has no idea.


7.27: Obviously you are a regular client of such places in Lille. Go and stick your head where you normally might do in such dens of iniquity…


12:04. Well said. Many parents have had their eyes open to the abuses of the RC church and no longer follow the tradition of encouraging their children into “holy orders”. The scandals that have been exposed in this church are shocking. It makes one wonder how they got away with it for so long. People are craving for God. Those who have abused their positions of responsibility will surely answer for their misdeeds . What are the bishops in Ireland doing about the destruction of their church? Not a lot. And yet the faithful continue to fill the coffers. Oh that they would awaken and see what a shower of charlatans are “leading” them. Young people are more and more tuned in thank God. They would never accept what we had to go through. We accepted blindly because they were men and women of God. We accepted their beatings, their psychological and emotional abuse and their torture. We lived in fear of them and their influence. Now that people have wakened up it’s no surprise that seminaries are closing. Those drawn to God are more and more accepting lay roles. A lot, not all, lay people are choosing their roles for the right reasons, not for status and not for power. These people give of themselves whilst holding down jobs . Many many priests have lost their vocation(if they ever had one) and now go through the motions for a comfortable life. It would be remiss however not to acknowledge that there are genuine holy priests working and striving in the vine yard. I may disagree with some of the outdated and unscriptural practices of the church but there are good people within it. The rot however is well established and the cancer is spreading. With the closure of seminaries, aged and disillusioned priests, where will the RC church be in 20 years? I would have thought that bishops would be panicking. But they don’t appear to care. Their immediate successors will be Firms men and the rot will continue until there is nothing left. Not only a smaller church but a dying church. Watch how many churches close over the coming years. 2 in North Belfast over recent times and more to come. Extrapolate this over Ireland and the picture is clear. So no surprise then that seminaries are closing. They are reaping what they have sowed


Excellent analysis at 9.15am. The Catholic Church is in terminal decline and the bishops simply don’t care. They keep talking about vocations as if more priests will solve all the problems. It’s time to get real and stop asking us to pray for vocations because only a fool would join a seminary today. The closure of churches will accelerate, as will the reduction in masses. Priests are mostly over 60 in every diocese of the country so the future is bleak… fact it’s fatal. Appointments of bishops in the last 10 years has only led to more company men who have no clue about what to do. The child abuse scandal has been so badly handled……every other issue is been badly handled too.


10.41: I agree with you. For quite some time the Cathic Church in its present mode is dying, dying its own self infl8cted death by abrigating to itself untrammelled power, a power that for too long was unquestioned and unchallenged by its own personnel and by society. We live in an age of rapid information and a more aware and dedicated society is vigilant about corruption and abuse in every institution and organisation – political, church, business, charities and economic businesses. We will no longer be deceived, lied to or allow coverbups anywhere. Truth, openness and transparency can only be good and positive ethics and principles for the moral and spirutual well being of our society. The church has a role to play but not until it is truly changed and renewed from within. It is a task facing all laity, priests and religious. As a priest if the 70’s I am fearful now that all my energetic initiatives, imagination, creativity and commitments are completely undone and unundermined by the unfolding off so many horrendous stories of abuse and cover up. Yet, I keep looking for moments of light and hope and try to grasp onto, ever so precariously, the motivation, prayer, idealism and dream that led me to priesthood. I personally would not encourage any young man to seek priesthood until he had many years of study, prayer, good human and spirutual formation, learning and experience with “the real world” first. I grew up in a society which supported the vocation of priesthood, thankfully. Those same supports are not visible today.


@12.34pm you paint a very accurate picture with your analysis. As the poster at 10.41am I encourage you to keep going and never let those in authority take you down. Don’t get caught up in the nonsense that is clericalism……avoid those events or gatherings in your diocese which suck all your energy. The Church doesn’t own you… kind to yourself and trust in God. The Church will implode and there’s no point getting caught up in the fallout.


Pat, what’s the delay with the clerical changes in Meath? Various priests have informed their parishioners that they’re leaving and the official list was supposed to have been published already. Is someone kicking up?


They’re on FB now. Lots of moves and some parishes combined. Joe Gallagher as the second Vicar General, Paul Crosbie going to Trim and replaced by Derek Darby. Kevin Heery also moving back to Mullingar.


France is interesting because there’s Paris and then there’s the rest of France. In Paris, Lustiger organised the students into houses as opposed to a barracks of a seminary. In the main, they have thrived. They do, however, seem to be attracting a very rigid candidate. However, that seems to be a church trend that’s universal. I have a friend a priest in Paris, a former engineer. He’s a nice chap but orthodox in extremis. Hence, I don’t stay with him when I visit because it’s full metal jacket Catholicism. He even told me he couldn’t introduce me to his friends unless I wore my collar.


Boooooring! 😴

You better hurray up and get cracking on that ‘mad as a box of rocks’ Redemptorist and his housekeeper, or yer man from Galway will be back on your case.

And those all those Scotties are patiently waiting too. You don’t want them getting their kilts in a flap now do ya? Och aye the noo, Brigadoone!


Yes. But how many of them are just curious? There just for the sheer spectacle?
Don’t equate religious vibrancy with numbers.


Pat, the power of your blog. Meath even released its changes today. Fr John Hogan who refused to give communion to the TD is on the move to a parish and going on post grad study. Presumably there will be celebrations in Multyfarham


I have search the diocesan web site and face book and cannot find the changes is there any in Navan.


No sign of Robert Mcgivney nor Dwayne Gavin (chaplain in Paris for a few years, appointed PP in Slane in 2017 and left as PP of Slane in 2018 to write a book on biblical studies or something, it mustn’t be finished yet).


The last I heard about Dwayne from Slane he was obtaining biblical knowledge, and it wasn’t from a book. I heard on the grapevine that poor old Robert McGiveney cracked up over the bullying from his brothers in Christ.


Padraig McMahon moved from Mullingar last year and now Paul Crosbie gone. The bishop has fairly changed Mullingar


Last summer’s moves happened under Bishop Smith, this is the new Bishop’s vision…he has left most in place but the teachers, lecturers and administrators are under scrutiny too.


5.45: It is wonderful to witness such glorious gatherings in prayer, faith, devotion and for the Mass at places like Lourdes, Fatima, Knock, Medugorje and at many annual Novenas. I’ve been a in all places and at Novenas and organised parish missions for our Parish. Always well supported but the long term benefits are not always evident in the day to day or weekly activity of parish life. The age demographic tends towards an older age group. The reality is that our church/parish communities are diminishing and we seem unable to respind in a visionary way…..


Re Fatima, i don’t believe in that apparition. I went there as it drew blank re spiritually compared to Lourdes.
Not only that , first few apparitions credible but afterwards not credible. Also never heard any stories of healing there nor did i hear from other people as well. It’s more like a fraud to me cos if the vatican knew it wasnt credible later due to Dhanis’s theory paper because several popes refused to heed virgin mary requests re conscreation. That priest Dhanis got promoted handsomely over several years. I don’t think Virgin Mary appeared there. The reason that the Vatican wants to keep Fatima going is money. Imagine that her prophecies didnt turn out in next fifty or hundred years as predicted like for instance , world war 2 was predicted after fact- her letter in 1941.
The picture is a testment of Portugal strong faith. I would go to Knock or Lourdes but not Fatima.
At the end of the day, any apparition of Virgin mary is a pure money spinner for the Vatican- an goldmine opportunity to make money. You could call me a cynic or vatican basher or whatever.
deaf user.


Fatima in Portugal is a money spinner for the Vatican? Does the Patriarch of Lisbon know ?Those candles must have a huge mark up if they are the cause of the money spinning


LOL re Candle mark ups. Very funny. Donations to the shrine – Patriarch would know the accounts as how much woud his dicoese have made it in terms of profit. As as Patriarch of Fatima shrine, he contribute to the Vatican appropriate amount of money that was received from donations and other cash outlets in the shrine.
Same for Knock as Bishop of Tuam owns a hotel there- easy money especially the high peak season and anniversary date et al.
deaf user.


7.49: Not only are you illiterate but you’re talking through your big fat a**e. Such nonsense. You’ll never outclass our Blessed Lady….or succeed in putting her down. Fatima is a beautiful, prayerful and holy place. What are you offering??? Fool.


What am i offering was another view if you like. Guess that you had too many whiskies taken.
What am i saying was the devil could dress up disguised as a virgin as it had happed before in other areas.
Proof in the pudding in Lourdes, Knock was healings whereas in Fatima, nothing.


Forgot to mention ….. heard from a friend of mine whose brother was abused by a priest in Renmore Church many years ago. That priest as i don’t know his name was cleared by gardai just few years ago cos no other person came forward. That guy is raging over this as he plastered his story piece on facebook.So that his FB friends know now. That priest is probably retired by now.

Deaf user.


Renmore was badly hit. You had the child abusing Brother of Charity in Holy Family in School and then you had the physical and psychological abuse from Dermody both when he was CC and PP. In Renmore School, you had the sadomasochist O’Grady and Kilbane and a few others. Sister Michael, the Mercy nun, however, deserves a whole page to herself (she was one crazy bitch).


Fr. Derek Darby, PP Ashbourne to be Episcopal Vicar for Pastoral Planning and Development and Adm, Mullingar.

Fr. Joe Clavin, PP Dunshaughlin to be AP Dunshaughlin, residing in Culmullen.

Fr. Paddy Keary, PP Clara to retire.

Fr. John Conlon, PP Duleek to be Adm Donore in addition.

Fr Sean Henry, PP Trim to be PP Dunshaughlin.

Fr. Gabriel Flynn, AP Dunboyne to DCU and on loan to Dublin, Pro Tem.

Fr. Joe Deegan to be PP Clara.

Fr. Phil Gaffney, PP Saint Mary’s, Drogheda to be Adm Holy Family in addition.

Fr. David Bradley, PP Holy Family, Drogheda to be PP Multyfarnham.

Fr. Paul Crosbie, Adm, Mullingar to be PP Trim.

Fr. John Nally, PP Ballynacargy to be PP Ashbourne.

Fr Shane Crombie, CC Tullamore to be CC Navan.

Fr. Tony Gonoude, Adm, Donore to be PP, Ballynacargy.

Fr Kevin Heery, CC Navan to be CC Mullingar.

Fr. John Hogan, PP Multyfarnham to Post-Graduate Study and Priest-in-residence Dunboyne.

Fr. Declan Kelly, CC Dunshaughlin to be CC Dunboyne.

Fr. Michael Hinds, CC Dunboyne to be CC Duleek and CC Donore.

Fr. Conor Magee, CC Clara to be CC Holy Family, Drogheda and CC Saint Mary’s, Drogheda residing in Holy Family.

Fr. Noel Weir, CC Laytown/Mornington to be AP Navan, Pro Tem

Fr. Cyprian Solomon, CC Clara to be CC Saint Mary’s Drogheda and CC Holy Family, Drogheda

Fr. Fergal Cummins, CC Drogheda to be CC Tullamore.

Fr. Joseph Apust, Diocese of Minna, Nigeria to be CC Laytown/Mornington and Post-Graduate Studies, Maynooth.


Thanks Bishop Pat for the Update always get it on your blog.
hopefully soon will be the appointment to Dublin.
Still think it will be the Bishop who is in Rome or Bishop Leahy as I think Bishop Cullian is out the picture now.
but will Ireland get a Cardinal this year…..


7.49: Not only are you illiterate but you’re talking through your big fat a**e. Such nonsense. You’ll never outclass our Blessed Lady….or succeed in putting her down. Fatima is a beautiful, prayerful and holy place. What are you offering??? Fool.


Anon@ 9:58: Would the “blessed Lady” you refer to be inclined to use such intolerant dismissive language?
If not, then, since you seem to regard her as exemplary, why do you choose to behave in this way towards someone with an opinion different from your own?
As a point of accuracy, as I write at 11:16am there is no poster at 11:49 such as you refer to: unless it has been removed meanwhile. So if you are “seeing things” not there maybe you’re just the kind of person the money machines of these pilgrimage sites welcome with open arms?


Oh my goodness – you obviously have little knowledge of the men you list!!!! Find out why ‘Fr’ Brankin was swiftly removed from Dunloy in 2013 and you may wish to revise your listi – in reply to MMM comment on 9 May


Oh my goodness – you obviously have little knowledge of the men you list!!!! Find out why ‘Fr’ Brankin was swiftly removed from Dunloy in 2013 and you may wish to revise your listi – in reply to MMM post on 9th May


Ya can’t grow priests unless ya got the right fertiliser. It’s the thorns in the field hi. The pointy heads need to spend a bit a time weeding th garden of Eden hi


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