by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
In a very rare occurrence, Canon 436 §2 has been invoked to authorize the Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon by Archbishop Antoine Hérouard of Dijon, the local Metropolitan.
Visitations of this kind are the highest level of administration intervention that can occur in any Diocese of the Church. They can only be conducted on authorization of the Pope himself.
You can read the original announcement in French by the Apostolic Nuncio’s Office in France. The Visitation is scheduled to begin in February 13, 2023.
Causes for such a visitation are normally common ones, such as a division of the diocesan territory, but in rare cases involve accusations of grave and gross immorality or deviations from the Catholic Faith.
While much of the traditionalist media are presenting this story as the persecution of a Diocese favorable to the Traditional Latin Mass, not a few traditionalist institutes have been exposed as having serious problems with morality, in recent years.
As can be seen from the report below, the local bishop has accepted more than 50 institutes into his diocese, which were seen by other Bishops as having internal problems.
The announcement and the text of Canon 436 §2 leads one to believe that the reason for the intervention is the failure of the local Bishop to cease ordinations of seminarians from outside the diocese, as requested by Cardinal Bergoglio. If the local Bishop has an astute canonist on board, he should point out that such a Visitation is canonically invalidated by the fact that Pope Francis did not hold the petrine munus when the first intervention was made, and that the matter should be reconsidered ab instar. That is, from the beginning.
FromRome.Info will report the results of the Visitation, which probably will not be published until the Fall.