Fishwrap and excommunicated Australian are “shocked”

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.]


Skipping down:


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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. kpoterack says:

    This is very, very interesting, Father. Please keep us updated on any other info that comes your way.

  2. Cantor says:

    The Pope made it quite clear in The Big Interview that it was time for the Church to focus on things other than abortion and homosexuality. The press went giddy with joy.

    So perhaps priestly behavior is one of those ‘other things’. Sounds good to me!

  3. THREEHEARTS says:

    And now for his bishop?????

  4. In through a window…like female servers, communion in the hand, etc. IOW, if it’s forbidden, we’ll do it anyway and present a fait acompli which will force the hand, right?

    you know, you can do things in accordance with your conscience (as I am sure he would claim), but if your conscience is malformed or misguided, it still does not make it right.

    It is sad since it is a wound in the Body of Christ, but I really don’t feel sorry for him.

  5. trad catholic mom says:

    Of course they are shocked, dissenters have run virtually unchecked for the last 50 years.

  6. Fr_Sotelo says:

    What Catholic priests are asked to do is very simple: preach the Catholic faith, confer sacraments, keep your nose clean. I don’t get the whining and foot stomping. He started his own religion. He was told, “okay, if that’s how it’s going to be, adios!” Now, he’s shocked? !?

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  8. McCall1981 says:

    Maybe Francis is a “speak softly and carry a big stick” kind of guy…

  9. Indulgentiam says:

    ” He’s so chill about, you know, like, stuff like … you know!”
    Dooooude….Frankie, you harshen our mellow…tsk maaaan. :) the fishwraps a piece of work.
    The excomunication is very sad. I will pray for this poor soul.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    The 100 plus priests here in Ireland hold the same positions. Why are they not excommunicated as well? Father Flannery has been disciplined, but not the rest.
    The Association of Catholic Priests is gaining ground here.

  11. Michael_Thoma says:

    Where’s the excommunication order? The laicization is quite explicit, but where does it say dismissed priest Gregory is not able receive the sacraments?

  12. Magash says:

    There isn’t an excommunication order. The document said that he had “incurred latae sententiae excommunication for throwing away the consecrated host or retaining it “for a sacrilegious purpose” (Canon 1367).” More specifically:

    Can. 1367 A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; moreover, a cleric can be punished with another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.

    So I guess the Holy See decided to invoke the full penalty of the law and dismissed him from the clerical state after he had already, by his actions, excommunicated himself. The letter merely acknowledged that self excommunication.

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  14. acardnal says:

    “Let’s call it The Melbourne Ultimatum.”

    Looks like the Melbourne “Ultimatum” met Papal “Supremacy”. Now Reynolds needs to develop a hard Catholic “Identity”.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  15. av8er says:

    @acardnal; A well deserved gold star from Fr. Z. That was great.

  16. JohnE says:

    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 can’t believe he really didn’t know what “the door is shut” meant. Hopefully it will clear things up for others who can’t seem to understand.

  17. John Nolan says:

    The dismissal from the clerical state is the penalty; the excommunication is simply the formal proclamation of a pre-existing condition. By spreading division and confusion amongst the faithful, Reynolds has excommunicated himself. Pope Francis said recently that questions of orthodoxy should be dealt with by bishops rather than being referred to Rome. In an ideal world, with orthodox bishops running their dioceses without being hamstrung by National Conferences, this would be the case. Surely the primary pastoral responsibility of a bishop is to protect his flock from error? Sadly, too many seem to think ‘pastoral’ equates to being all things to all men, and being generally indecisive.

  18. unavoceman says:

    One of the least necessary lines in the story:

    “The former priest said Salvano presented him the letter of excommunication and proceeded to read it to him, since Reynolds did not read Latin”.

    Well….that goes without saying….

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  20. Johnno says:

    Close the door, and they’ll seek a window, an airhole, a buzzsaw to take apart the door, the the windows and the pillars, anything, to get what they want. Offer them an inch, they will take a mile. You cannot negotiate with this kind of madness. Their revolution will never end nor will their fires be put out, this is the source of the supplies the everlasting fuel that feeds the fires in Hell.

  21. AnnAsher says:

    Thieves get in through open windows. Just sayin’.

  22. Peter G says:

    Greetings from Melbourne.
    Despite having his priestly faculties removed quite a while ago,Reynolds continued to “offer Mass”for the usual suspects and,on at least one occasion gave the sacred host to a dog.
    His excommunication is well deserved.

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