You have to do something really awful to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church these days. In Melbourne, Australia, The Age notes that the only priests in the region who are no longer welcome to receive the Church’s sacraments are those who have been convicted of pedophilia.
But now we can add (former) Father Greg Reynolds to that exile list. What did he do that was so awful?
“I’ve come to this position because I’ve followed my conscience on women’s ordination and gay marriage.”
Yep, he thinks women should be ordained and that gay marriage is perfectly fine. In 2011, he voluntarily resigned as a priest but began his own group called Inclusive Catholics to “welcome all Catholics, especially the disenfranchised, the disillusioned and the excluded.” But now, he is no longer allowed to receive Communion… which, let’s face it, is about as damaging as being told you’re going to get repeatedly beaten up… in the afterlife. Sounds bad, but it’s really nothing to worry about.
But if you’re sincerely a Catholic like Reynolds, that has to hurt.
Church leaders are welcome to kick whomever they want out of their country club — they make the rules and those who want to become leaders should know well enough to only sign on the dotted line if they agree.
This act says far more about the Church than it does Reynolds. He seems to be a decent guy whose religious beliefs got in the way of his kindness.
Now, if Pope Francis really wanted to make some headlines, he would find a way to reinstate this guy. I’m not expecting that, though. The Pope, while I appreciate his tone and rhetoric, has not yet strayed from the party line. He is part of the same hierarchy that rejects women leaders and believes it’s wrong for the Church to support gay marriages. You’re not going to see him bend over backwards to help a guy who is about as devout as one could get but whose ethics are a little too good for the leaders of the Church.
Too bad for Reynolds, but it just goes to show why no decent person should want to support such a despicable institution.