It is a decision that has gone unnoticed in the storm that has shaken the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon since the announcement, on June 2, of the postponement of ordinations at the request of the Vatican: Bishop Dominique Rey has suppressed the public association of faithful entitled “Saint-Benoît Monastery” by a decree issued on June 10.
Bishop Rey had already suspended Alcuin Reid and Ildephonse Swithinbank, members of this traditionalist community of Benedictine spirituality, after having learned of their ordination respectively as priest and deacon on April 20, in secret and without his agreement, by a bishop outside the diocese of which they never wanted to give the name.
According to the decree of June 10, “due to the spontaneous revelation by Alcuin Reid and Ildephonse Swithinbank of their ordinations received in an illicit way (…)of the declaration of suspense which followed, and because of their stubbornness in disobedience (refusal to meet Monsignor Rey or to reveal the name of the bishop who ordained them despite several injunctions) (…)Monsignor Rey has decided to delete » the public association of the faithful that he had erected in 2019 in recognition of this community. Likewise, the bishop decided “to withdraw the permission to establish an oratory which had been granted to hime “.
Stirring in the Var and beyond
According to a survey conducted by The cross in Toulon and Rome, the “Saint-Benoît Monastery” was part of the new or traditionalist communities whose accompaniment – or rather the lack of follow-up – by Bishop Rey was considered problematic by the Holy See. After inviting the Bishop of Toulon to settle certain excesses in the management of these structures and more generally of the many vocations of the diocese, the Holy See reacted by demanding the suspension of the ten ordinations – four priests and six deacons – scheduled for 26 next June, causing a stir in the Var and beyond.
This Benedictine community illustrated one of the complaints against Bishop Rey: his extensive use of the status of “public association of the faithful”. A decree published by the Holy See on June 15, two weeks after the suspension of ordinations in Toulon, now requires bishops to obtain written validation from Rome before being able to create some of these associations.
Alerts from Melbourne
Mgr Rey welcomed Alcuin Reid in 2009, who has since led a “international and English-speaking monastic community in Brignoles in the Var leading a traditional life of prayer, work and study according to the venerable Rule of Saint-Benoît”celebrating “the Holy Liturgy in all its fullness, according to the most ancient forms of Roman rites”, indicates the website of this “Saint-Benoît Monastery”. This reception was made despite alerts from Melbourne, the former diocese of Alcuin Reid, learned The cross from several sources.
This specialist in liturgy, who enjoys an international reputation in circles attached to the Tridentine Mass, has lived in the past experiences of religious life “difficult”, in particular at the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Michel in Farnborough (south of England), we recognized at the end of May in the entourage of Bishop Rey. The same source pointed out that the community of Brignoles had “undeveloped”.
“Our diocese is shaken”
Alcuin Reid did not respond to requests from The cross concerning the sanctions taken against him. The bishopric did not comment on them either.
In the days following the announcement of the suspension of the Toulon ordinations, the Benedictine religious posted a message of support for Bishop Rey online, ” offensive “ whereas “our diocese is shaken”. “I assured the bishop of our prayershe said, and I received a grateful response in return. »