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.
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.”