Vatican suspends ordinations in conservative French diocese

Vatican suspends ordinations

In a bombshell announcement, the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon in southeastern France has suspended this year’s priestly ordinations following a Vatican “visitation” that raised concerns over its seminary programme.

On 2 June, Dominique Rey (pictured), the bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, announced that, at the express request of the Vatican, he had to postpone the ordinations of four priests and six deacons.

This highly unusual injunction from Rome came just days before the mass for the enthronement of the new clerics.

The ceremony was especially significant this year, being the 100th anniversary of the diocesan seminary of Castille.

“We welcome this request with both sorrow and confidence, aware of the hardship it represents above all for those who were about to be ordained,” the prelate wrote in a statement published on the diocese website.

The bishop said the order from the Holy See came after a “fraternal visit” to the diocese in recent months.

The “fraternal visit” is an inspection mission during which various members of the diocese – laity as well as clerics – are questioned.

Ordinations have been suspended “pending the outcome of these ongoing discussions” with the Vatican.

It is specifically the functioning of the seminary of La Castille that is in the crosshairs of Rome. Under the leadership of Bishop Rey, the most conservative pole of the French episcopate, it is one of the most productive in terms of ordinations.

The absence of an official explanation for suspending the ordinations has fuelled speculation about the grievances made against the bishop, his seminary admissions policy and the formation programme.

The Benedictine community uses the traditional Latin Mass and recently had several members ordained outside France. The ceremony was conducted by an undisclosed bishop after Rey could not envisage ordaining the men amid the scrutiny of the diocese.

“I encourage each of you also to pray for our diocese, while waiting for the situation to be clarified for the good of all,” Rey said as he announced the postponed ordinations.

“May the Spirit of Pentecost keep our hearts at peace, happy to serve and to love.”


La Croix International

Catholic News Agency


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