Yesterday I wrote (HERE) about the Australian now-former priest, Greg Reynolds, who received a decree of excommunication. The excommunication was issued under the aegis of Pope Francis.
This has sent liberals into a tail spin.
After all, isn’t Pope Francis supposed to be against rules? Isn’t he the most wonderfulest and bestest and fluffiest Pope ehvur? He’s so chill about, you know, like, stuff like … you know!
Today the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) is throwing a little nutty about the excommunication of former-Father Reynolds. Let’s call it The Melbourne Ultimatum.
Here is a sample of their angst.
First, they are all shocked!
Fr. Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia, told NCR by email late Monday night his initial reaction was “shock” upon learning of his separation from the church. Australian media have reported he is the first member of the Melbourne archdiocese excommunicated and the first priest from the area laicized for reasons other than pedophilia. [Lesson: There are grave problems you can get yourself into – which can be censured even with excommunication – other than pedophilia. As a matter of fact, these other grave matters have been well-known for a long time. Then again, he said an illicit Mass during which the Eucharist was given to a DOG. Maybe that was it?]
The news came Sept. 18 through a canon lawyer for the Melbourne archdiocese, Fr. John Salvano, who invited Reynolds a few weeks earlier to meet “to discuss ‘some canonical issue,’ ” Reynolds said. The former priest said Salvano presented him the letter of excommunication and proceeded to read it to him, since Reynolds did not read Latin. [That didn’t occur in a vacuum. In most cases people who are involved in these canonical procedures are advised along the way. But I am not privy to the back story here. It is hard for me to imagine that this came like a bolt from the blue.]
Part of the shock stemmed from uncertainty with who initiated the excommunication and laicization process. During the meeting, Salvano told Reynolds that while Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart previously considered beginning the laicization process, he had not gone forward with that plan. Instead, unknown people had contacted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which requested Reynolds’ file from Hart. [I don’t have any inside information about this, of course, but the CDF is able to initiate canonical processes on its own authority.]
Let’s go on to the core of the matter.
The letter, a copy of which NCR obtained and translated, accuses Reynolds of heresy (Canon 751) [What could that be? Reynolds asserts that the Church can and should ordain women. That is one point that could figure in that charge.] and determined he incurred latae sententiae excommunication for throwing away the consecrated host or retaining it “for a sacrilegious purpose” (Canon 1367). [He probably wasn’t selling or giving the Eucharist to Satanists. However, if he, as a suspended priest without faculties, was illicitly celebrating Masses and then retaining and distributing the Eucharist to anyone at all, that could be a “sacrilegious purpose”. ] It also referenced Canon 1369 (speaking publicly against church teaching) in its review of the case. [Just check the internet for stories about him and what he has said and written in public.]
“Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff [He might refer to himself most often as “Bishop of Rome”, but he remains also “Supreme Pontiff”.] having heard the presentation of this Congregation concerning the grave reason for action … of [Fr. Greg Reynolds] of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, all the preceding actions to be taken having been followed, with a final and unappealable decision and subject to no recourse, has decreed dismissal from the clerical state is to be imposed on said priest for the good of the Church,” read the document, signed by Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect for the congregation, and his secretary, Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria. [His dismissal is for the good of the Church, and the excommunication is for his own spiritual good. These actions had to undertaken for he purpose of the salvation of souls, to avoid scandal, etc.]
Reynolds told NCR that while he knew the pope had reiterated that the door to women’s ordination was closed, he said his hope was that it didn’t mean the door was locked, “or maybe there is a way in through an open window.”
“I am very surprised that this order has come under his watch; it seems so inconsistent with everything else he has said and done,” he said. [That means that he hasn’t been paying attention.]
So, Greg Reynolds joins fellow ex-priests such as Roy Bourgeois, who didn’t pay attention, who didn’t submit to the Church’s judgment concerning grave matters, and who decided to oppose the Church publicly and thus cause scandal.
This is sad. We should stop for a moment and say a prayer for him. We should then remind others who, like him, are sunk in error and defiance, that the possibility of censure awaits them as well.