New Statistics for the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) - A question
#1
Greetings,

No doubt many of you have seen the recent post on Rorate Caeli about this - or perhaps on the FSSP's own website, if you check in there regularly enough. Link: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/11....html#more

The FSSP has been one of the most remarkable success stories for tradition since its founding in 1988 - not least because of the rocky circumstances of its founding following the SSPX consecrations in July of that year, to say nothing of the many obstacles and difficulties it has had to surmount since then.  I say all this without desiring to enter into any of the controversies of the consecrations or the decision of the original FSSP 12 to leave the Society over that incident.

But speaking of difficulties along the way, none is more notable than the Article 1411/99 controversy which erupted in 1999, which was triggered when a number of French priests in the Fraternity lobbied for the right to celebrate Mass according to the Pauline Missal (1970), a desire driven by the wish to overcome the considerable opposition that many French bishops had to any FSSP presence in their dioceses. Suffice to say that Rome issued a new document, whose interpretation is disputed, with the practical result that the Fraternity moved more decisively against such a posture, and several of the French priests departed as a result. (For those who don't know much about it, you can learn more about the 1411/99 episode here at the Vancouver TMS Dossier: http://www.vancouvervtms.com/w/TradLatin...201411.htm)

What occasions this post (my first thread here, actually), is something else I had not been aware of: not only does the number of priests drop after 2000, but so does the number of seminarians, both at Denton and at Wigratzbad:

[Image: chiffres3.jpg]

It's hard to think this drop wasn't occasioned by the 1411/99 controversy. But is that the case? Was it merely a case of the Fraternity voluntarily reducing their intake because of a sudden manpower shortage? Or something else? Can anyone cast any light on the dropoff in seminarians - a drop which wasn't fully overcome for a decade - at that point?
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#2
The fact is that running an Institute, Order, etc costs money, lots of money.  Unlike older orders and societies that have a lot of properties and other revenue streams from a time when property, tithes, estates were given freely, the FSSP has to build up with the modern limited resources.  A drop in intake could be a reflection of the financial situation of the Society where the economy slowed down in 2000, and they were presumably heavily indebted from their construction of the Denton seminary (which opened in 2000).  Not too mention, they probably had too many priests than they did assignments.  The last thing you want is spending all kinds of time and investment into a priest who is going to be sent back home to momma while they wait for an assignment.  Also remember that some years have more dropout than others (I think it is safe to say that a class of 10, only 1 or 2 will make it to ordination on average), especially with the FSSP where the students is almost expected to pay for his own way through seminary and that you cannot be ordain with debt (which is canon law btw). 
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#3
(11-07-2014, 12:41 PM)Athelstane Wrote: Greetings,

No doubt many of you have seen the recent post on Rorate Caeli about this - or perhaps on the FSSP's own website, if you check in there regularly enough. Link: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/11....html#more

The FSSP has been one of the most remarkable success stories for tradition since its founding in 1988 - not least because of the rocky circumstances of its founding following the SSPX consecrations in July of that year, to say nothing of the many obstacles and difficulties it has had to surmount since then.  I say all this without desiring to enter into any of the controversies of the consecrations or the decision of the original FSSP 12 to leave the Society over that incident.

But speaking of difficulties along the way, none is more notable than the Article 1411/99 controversy which erupted in 1999, which was triggered when a number of French priests in the Fraternity lobbied for the right to celebrate Mass according to the Pauline Missal (1970), a desire driven by the wish to overcome the considerable opposition that many French bishops had to any FSSP presence in their dioceses. Suffice to say that Rome issued a new document, whose interpretation is disputed, with the practical result that the Fraternity moved more decisively against such a posture, and several of the French priests departed as a result. (For those who don't know much about it, you can learn more about the 1411/99 episode here at the Vancouver TMS Dossier: http://www.vancouvervtms.com/w/TradLatin...201411.htm)

What occasions this post (my first thread here, actually), is something else I had not been aware of: not only does the number of priests drop after 2000, but so does the number of seminarians, both at Denton and at Wigratzbad:

[Image: chiffres3.jpg]

It's hard to think this drop wasn't occasioned by the 1411/99 controversy. But is that the case? Was it merely a case of the Fraternity voluntarily reducing their intake because of a sudden manpower shortage? Or something else? Can anyone cast any light on the dropoff in seminarians - a drop which wasn't fully overcome for a decade - at that point?

I don't think the 1411/99 controversy is common knowledge, so here's a link explaining it for those who need it.

http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/article...woods.html

Perhaps the Fraternity became more selective on who they admitted around this time.  The drop off seems to have occurred around the same time the news of the sex abuse scandals broke in Boston.  Prudent bishops, religious superiors, and vocation directors would have become especially watchful as it was becoming increasingly clear- and public- that many hadn't been watchful or selective enough.

As for the 1411/99 controversy, if I were to join the FSSP, it would only be because I want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.  A priest isn't going to join the FSSP and then prefer to celebrate the Novus Ordo- if he does, he'll eventually leave and become incardinated into a diocese or something.  An FSSP priest would only want to celebrate the Novus Ordo when he felt there was a particular and unusual need, and he would only fight the FSSP on the issue if it was an extremely pressing need (such as wanting to celebrate funeral Masses for family members whose loved ones are almost totally unfamiliar with the Tridentine Mass and don't want to try and learn something new and confusing when they're already upset).  I would not want to be a part of a religious community and not be allowed to celebrate the form of the Mass (including the Extraordinary form, which I'm sorry to say many monasteries and religious orders still forbid) of my choice.  This is a big reason I have not joined a religious order.
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#4
Perhaps all of the potential seminarians are getting sucked into the SSPX and Sedevacantist situations?
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#5
Once upon a time, I used to be an active part in stock exchange. So, I studied a lot of graphics. When the prices of a share design a graphic like this, I buy !
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#6
(11-07-2014, 03:18 PM)AntoniusMaximus Wrote: The fact is that running an Institute, Order, etc costs money, lots of money.  Unlike older orders and societies that have a lot of properties and other revenue streams from a time when property, tithes, estates were given freely, the FSSP has to build up with the modern limited resources.  A drop in intake could be a reflection of the financial situation of the Society where the economy slowed down in 2000, and they were presumably heavily indebted from their construction of the Denton seminary (which opened in 2000).  Not too mention, they probably had too many priests than they did assignments.  The last thing you want is spending all kinds of time and investment into a priest who is going to be sent back home to momma while they wait for an assignment.  Also remember that some years have more dropout than others (I think it is safe to say that a class of 10, only 1 or 2 will make it to ordination on average), especially with the FSSP where the students is almost expected to pay for his own way through seminary and that you cannot be ordain with debt (which is canon law btw).

In the lack of other evidence, these seem like likely reasons.

That said: I do know that the Fraternity in the mid-00's made a conscious decision to focus more on priestly formation than on expansion. That may have been a reaction to some of these developments: the loss of several priests from what was already a limited manpower pool along with diminished financial resources and the drop in vocations. 

Of course, the American seminary situation is interesting: Our Lady of Guadalupe was not actually finished until 2010 (I know, other adjuncts are under construction or contemplation even now), but the non-chapel part was opened in 2000 - and then the numbers suddenly drop right after. But it is striking to me that the numbers drop in Wigratzbad as well.

Well, it's only speculation, obviously, unless someone more intimate with the Fraternity in that period will drop in and tell us more.

Looking more currently, it's interesting that Denton has been glowing slowly since 2008, but Wigratzbad has had a significant dropoff the last four years. Perhaps that's just normal variation. Then again, it could also be that there are more regularized traditionalist options (IBP, etc.) out there in Europe than was once the case. Hard to say.

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#7
There is also a demographic factor involved as well.  1970-75 was a relatively large group of births in the US, then it dropped from 1975 to 1984, and from 1984 to 1990 it rose again.  Those born in the early 70s would have entered into the late 90s.  Those born in the late 80s, would have entered the last 5-7 years, which corresponds to the bump.  In Europe there has only been one direction in demographics: down.  Even in large traditional Catholic families, they only represent a very small percentage of overall Catholic population, so a decline in Wigratzbad is also expected.  Also, the European seminary probably also had more international students at one point than they do now.  I know of Irish and English seminarians being sent to Denton as well those in Latin America and Asia, as Denton is the larger and modern facility. 

The point brought up by the other chap about the sex abuse crisis breaking out about the same probably contributed to either a decline in vocation or delayed vocation.
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