Just Because The Church Is A Mother, Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Get Punished

Worth a thousand words. Photo credit: Angela Wylie

Fresh off Pope Francis’s remarks about the Church being a Mother, priests being like shepherdesses, kind and gentle, hugging the flock with tenderness etc., folks seem to have forgotten one thing. Just because Mom is a woman doesn’t mean she’s a pushover.

I never wanted to disappoint my mom, because a) I love her, and b) she knew how to bring me back in line, but quick, when I didn’t conform to her standards. The same thing happens with the Church, as Diane Korzeniewski of the Te Deum Laudimus! blog shares the news of a notice of Excommunication handed down in Melbourne Australia.

Cardinal Pell recently said Pope Francis’ popularity with the press was, “too good to last.” That may come sooner than we all thought. This may send shock waves through the secular media and the dissenting wing of the Church who still don’t understand Pope Francis, or that mercy and charity often involve discipline.

Pope Francis just excommunicated a priest in Melbourne.

From The Age in Australia:

Dissident priest Greg Reynolds has been both defrocked and excommunicated over his support for women priests and gays – the first person ever excommunicated in Melbourne, he believes.

The order comes direct from the Vatican, not at the request of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, and apparently follows a secret denunciation in the best traditions of the inquisition, according to Father Reynolds.

The excommunication document – written in Latin and giving no reason – was dated May 31, meaning it comes under the authority of Pope Francis who made headlines on Thursday calling for a less rule-obsessed church.

Father Reynolds, who resigned as a parish priest in 2011 and last year founded Inclusive Catholics, said he had expected to be laicised (defrocked), but not excommunicated. But it would make no difference to his ministry.

But wait, there’s more.

“In times past excommunication was a huge thing, but today the hierarchy have lost such trust and respect,” he said.

“I’ve come to this position because I’ve followed my conscience on women’s ordination and gay marriage.”

According to church teaching, excommunication is the strongest sanction and means one can not hold any office or receive any sacraments. Being laicised means one is no longer a priest.

Fairfax Media understands that the only other Melbourne priests laicised against their will have been notorious paedophiles.

Read the rest.

Like Diane says, it’s no time to be doing victory laps around the punishment of this priest. Pray for him.

But at the same time, just like when you know one of your siblings broke some major rules, there is comfort in knowing that they didn’t get clean away with it either.  There is also the consolation of knowing that Mom didn’t irrevocably banish them for their mistakes either, but would always welcome them back into the fold with tender loving care. You know, after we got back on track.

Bottom line? Mom loved us too much to let us just do whatever we pleased.

Prepare for a bout of nausea from the media though, as the reasons Fr. Reynolds was laicized and excommunicated is because he ran afoul of Mother Church’s teachings about gays, females and Holy Orders, and other issues that supposedly were undergoing a loosening under the leadership of Pope Francis.

Is the whipsaw of public opinion coming our way? Probably. But Mom can handle it. At the same time, this recent news is so “off message,” and seemingly contrary to the virtual Pope Francis that is being crafted by the media, that this story may just be ignored. Just yesterday, NPR was still enthralled by the possibilities of “change.

Stay tuned.

  • Gordis85

    Thank you for this. Papa Francis is, always has been and always will be as he so wonderfully put it, “a son of the Church.” The picture of the excommunicated priest is one of unhappiness. I hope with everyone’s prayers he will come to realize the error of his ways before it is too late. May his example serve to bring others into communion with the Church.

  • Joselita Colonia Alinghawa

    According to church teaching, excommunication is the strongest sanction and means one can not hold any office or receive any sacraments. Not receiving any sacraments? no confession then communion? Its not right . God has given his sacraments for free to all that every person on earth may be saved through HIS Sacraments. How can a person may it be a priest that is excommunicated will be hindered from having the sacraments that heals the soul…the LORD Jesus did not command that. He command us to be merciful and forgiving and through his sacraments every soul will be cleansed. Please by the grace God has given me, let him have the sacrament of confession and communion.

    • Emmet

      An excommunicated person can still receive the Sacrament of Penance – and should do so, obviously.

    • http://doatney.blogger.com/ David Oatney

      An excommunicated person who receives the Sacrament of Penance and freely repents is returned to the Sacraments…Paul himself said that no one who is unworthy should receive the Eucharist.

  • Sandra Moschitto

    If the day comes that there are ever female Priest in the Roman Catholic Church or that gays be granted permission to marry in the Roman Catholic Church will be the day that the Vatican will split in two. That will never happen and neither will the other abominations I mentioned above. Thanks be to God!


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