Pope Excommunicates Priest Who Supports LGBT, Women’s Rights
Nearly a week after Pope Francis made international headlines for saying the Catholic Church is "obsessed" with abortion rights and gays, reports now say the pontiff excommunicated a priest who advocates for women's rights and marriage equality, Time magazine reports.
According to the magazine, Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia, was shocked when he allegedly received a letter from the pontiff, telling him that he has been excommunicated, which is the Catholic Church's harshest form of punishment and means Reynolds can no longer participate in the sacraments and services of the church.
"I am very surprised that this order has come under his watch; it seems so inconsistent with everything else he has said and done," Reynolds told the National Catholic Reporter.
Last week the pope wrote out his vision for the Catholic Church in an interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit magazine.
"The church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently," Francis said. "We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."
He went on to say, "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," he said. "The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."
According to Time magazine, the letter sent to Reynolds didn't explain why he has been excommunicated, but did accuse the priest of heresy and claimed he violated the sacrament of the Eucharist. Reynolds, however, told the National Catholic Reporter that he believes he was punished over his support for the LGBT community; he's officiated same-sex weddings (even if they were not legal) and justified his actions.
"I still love the church and am committed to it," he told the Standard newspaper, adding that he wanted "to help highlight some of the failing and limitations."
According to the Australian Associated Press, the officials from the Archdiocese of Melbourne, the district that oversaw the three churches where Reynolds preached, said the priest was excommunicated because he was publicizing his views that women should be ordained as priests and for supporting marriage equality.