Did Pope Francis Excommunicate A Pro-Gay Priest?
The remarkable words coming from Pope Francis's mouth have been a welcome change to the church's history of persecuting the gay community. His actions since assuming the robe, however, may tell a different story.
A Melbourne priest who left his position as a parish patriarch in 2011 to start a progressive Catholic ministry in support of marriage equality and women's rights has been excommunicated with orders directly from Pope Francis.
Father Greg Reynolds received a letter dated May 31 (after Pope Francis took the holy reins) that was written completely in Latin and provided word of his excommunication. It provided no reason for the Pope's decision, but Reynolds understands that it's all very transparent.
In times past excommunication was a huge thing, but today the hierarchy have lost such trust and respect,” Reynolds said in an interview with The Age. ”I’ve come to this position because I’ve followed my conscience on women’s ordination and gay marriage.”
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart agrees lends much to the suspicion, saying the excommunication occurred because “after his priestly faculties were withdrawn he continued to celebrate the Eucharist publicly and preach contrary to the teachings of the church.”
But Pope Francis has been outspoken about turning a new leaf with the Catholic Church's approach to the LGBT community and excommunication as well as laicization (one step more severe than excommunication) don't come easily or lightly from the Vatican; may pro-gay nuns and priests have not received such actions.
Is there more to this story than what meets the eye or did Pope Francis indeed defrock Father Reynolds for actively working toward marriage equality while still a Catholic leader? What do you think?