Statement from the Abbot of Quarr Abbey

 Abbot Cuthbert Johnson OSB, of Quarr Abbey, situated near Ryde in the Isle of Wight, made the following statement today. "At the request of the Diocese of Portsmouth, the Abbey of Quarr provided a monk to serve as priest in charge of the parishes at Sandown and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight for a period of three years. "Dom Tibor Szende OSB, a member of the Quarr Abbey community volunteered for this service which began in October 2002. This agreement made between Quarr Abbey and the Diocese of Portsmouth was formally ended by Bishop Crispian Hollis in a letter dated 27 October 2005. "Understandably, the parishioners of the South Wight Parish are sad that Dom Tibor is leaving. "The Benedictine community at Quarr too, is sad that after three years absence from the monastery Dom Tibor does not wish to return to the Abbey. "Dom Tibor Szende made it known in writing on 24 October 2005 that he would like to renounce his monastic vows in order to work in the diocese of Portsmouth. "As his Abbot, I have offered Dom Tibor Szende the opportunity to remain in the Diocese of Portsmouth for one year to reflect upon his decision. "Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth has kindly offered to let Dom Tibor Szende work in the parish of Winchester during that period. "Despite these two generous offers, Dom Tibor Szende has decided that he wishes to begin afresh in another parish in a new diocese. "This decision is in accord with the wishes expressed by Abbot Philippe Dupont of Solesmes, Abbot of our Mother house in France, and approved by the Congregation for Religious in Rome. "It has come to my attention that a number of ill informed persons have reacted disingenuously and have written, and encouraged other to write, letters of complaint, some most offensive and obsessive, against myself, and Abbot Dupont of Solesmes. "In recent days I have been assured by many kind people and clergy in the Isle of Wight that the views expressed in the letters reflect only those of a small minority of parishioners in Sandown and Shanklin." Abbot Johnson added: "The community at Quarr Abbey has faithfully served Catholics and non-Catholics on the Isle of Wight since 1907, and under the watchful guidance of St Benedict will gladly continue to do so for many generations to come."

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