03 June 2022, The Tablet

French diocese postpones June ordinations

Bishop Rey wrote: “It has been requested that the diaconal and priestly ordinations planned for the end of June be postponed.”

French diocese postpones June ordinations

Bishop Domique Rey
Nasser Berzane/Abaca

A diocese in France has postponed all diaconal and priestly ordinations planned for the end of June after the illicit ordination of a prominent traditionalist who is prior of a monastery in the diocese took place.

Liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid has himself been suspended after after he was ordained in a clandestine ceremony by an unnamed “senior prelate”. Dom Reid has been a vocal critic of Pope Francis’ decision to restrict celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon told The Tablet: “Ordinations have been suspended (and not canceled) on request of Vatican. The diocese of Frejus-Toulon is well known for welcoming a large diversity of communities and vocations, which is a blessing in some ways but could also be difficult in other ways. Vatican wanted some additional informations about that point and has preferred to ask for ordination suspension while discussions are still in progress.” The diocese is waiting for the go-ahead from the Vatican before any ordinations can proceed.

The news of the suspension of all priestly and diaconal ordinations was broken yesterday by Diane Montagna, an American journalist in Rome accredited to the Holy See and co-author of Christus Vincit and Calming the Storm, who tweeted a communication sent by Bishop Dominique Rey to clergy in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon.


Dear Brother Priests, here is a communication that I am about to make. I wanted to inform you of it first, aware of the sadness and the emotion that it will provoke, because I know your attachment to our diocese, to its seminary, and your love for the Church. It is in prayer that we take refuge, and remain united for the mission.

“In recent months, the metropolitan archbishop of our province, Mgr Aveline, Archbishop of Marseille, has conducted a fraternal visit to our diocese at the request of Rome. Alongside the many beautiful fruits of the proclamation of the Gospel and the mission of committed Christians – clerics, consecrated persons and lay people – in our diocese, it was possible to address the questions that certain Roman dicasteries were asking about the restructuring of the seminary and the policy of welcoming people to the diocese. A meeting with Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, on these subjects has provided useful information. 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.

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. 

We will be committed to supporting them in prayer and to continuing to accompany them on their journey. I encourage each one of you to pray for our diocese as well, until the situation can be clarified for the good of all.”

At this stage there is no further information. At this stage, there is no further information. Everyone is asked to refer any journalist requests to the communications department by email at [email protected]

May the Spirit of Pentecost keep our hearts in peace, happy to serve and love.
+ Msgr. Dominique REY


Dom Alcuin’s “Monastère Saint-Benoit” is based in Brignoles, about an hour’s drive from Saint-Tropez. It is an international, English-speaking community.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon told The Tablet after Dom Alcuin’s ordination that Bishop Rey had in “no way given his permission for this ordination, nor had he sent a ‘dimissorial’ letter to the unknown bishop (a letter which is necessary according to canonical rules).”

Bishop Rey then suspended Dom Alcuin preventing him from celebrating the sacraments. 

A statement on his monastery’s website explained that after Dom Alcuin made a pilgrimage to Rome a “senior prelate offered to confer ordinations” which then took place in April “in a discrete location not in France”. The ceremony was also celebrated according to the Old Rite liturgy, in spite of the Holy See ruling in December that ordinations in the Tridentine form were no longer permitted.


  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99