Vatican asks for suspension of ordinations in French diocese

Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon | Claude Truong-Ngoc via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Vatican has asked a diocese in southern France to suspend its ordinations of priests and deacons scheduled for this month after a “fraternal visit” of the diocese.

Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon announced June 2 that the suspension was requested due to “questions that certain Roman dicasteries were asking about the restructuring of the seminary and the policy of welcoming people to the diocese.”

“We welcome this request with both sorrow and confidence, aware of the trial it represents above all for those who were preparing to receive ordination,” Rey said.

The announcement comes after Archbishop Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille conducted a visitation of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, his suffragan, at the request of the Vatican.

Aveline is among the 21 cardinals named by Pope Francis earlier this week. He will be the first French residential prelate to receive a red hat during this pontificate.

Rey, known for his support of the traditional Latin Mass, said that he has already spoken with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and other offices of the Roman curia about the questions raised by the visitation.

“Pending the outcome of these ongoing exchanges with the Roman dicasteries, it has been requested that the diaconal and priestly ordinations planned for the end of June be postponed,” he wrote in a letter published on the diocesan website.

The French diocese’s ordinations were scheduled for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29.

According to the French publication La Vie, last year the diocese ordained ten priests and eight deacons.

La Croix reported that in 2020, 126 priests were ordained throughout France, and that more than 60% of the country’s dioceses had no ordinations.

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