These Things Take Time.

A few days ago I wrote about Pope Francis making overtures to the more moderate and liberal elements of his flock by saying that church leadership focuses too much on homosexuality and abortion, and not enough on pretty much everything else Jesus actually said.  The public response to his statements was largely positive, but we need to keep in mind that even though the new RCC may not be overly obsessed with these issues, it doesn’t mean they’re going to feel any differently about them.

Take, for example, Greg Reynolds, a parish priest in Melbourne, Australia, who was recently defrocked and excommunicated for speaking about homosexuality and allowing women to take on positions of authority in the church.

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.

Greg Reynolds with his excommunication orders, written in Latin. Photo by Angela Wylie

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.

To Reynolds, this isn’t really going to change anything as he still intends to keep teaching a doctrine that’s … well … less obsessed with homosexuality and abortion.  The article also notes that the only other Melbourne priests that have suffered the same fate have been pedophiles … and it took the church about 20 years to act on them.

It’s good to see how quickly they’re acting on the things that matter most to them, especially in light of their recent shifting of their priorities.   Oh, and they’re also stiffing him out of about $43k … but that’s still being sorted out.  I’m sure in the end they’ll be happy to fully compensate him for his years of service.

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5 Responses to These Things Take Time.

  1. Hmmm. Interesting. First, sorry I’m behind on my reading (and writing). I’ve missed your blog, though I swear you and I must read the same stuff!

    So this Greg Reynolds has been defrocked for saying he thinks women should be on top? (I’m sorry, couldn’t resist.) And for preaching tolerance? Something just doesn’t smell right. You sure there’s not more to this story? Hmmmm. (For closure.)

    • That’s alright … I still have to read your latest entry too. My inbox is flooded with the related comments, so I know I won’t forget.

      Reynolds voluntarily resigned from his original parish two years ago. It was only in recent days he was both defrocked and excommunicated by the authority of someone up on high … likely because he formed another group called “Inclusive Catholics” and kept preaching the same message. I think that finally got the attention of the Vatican … even if their actions directly contradict the seemingly less obsessed attitude of the new Catholic Church.

      • Yes. Definitely sounds more of a statement and maybe even under pressure from the Bishop. And, please, don’t ever feel you have to read my posts! I’ll continue to yak, regardless of whether anyone is listening! hehe

  2. He resigned two years earlier, according to an ABC News site.

    Also found this interesting piece (link below):

    WHAT ”crime” has Father Greg Reynolds committed to warrant such a mean-spirited action by the Melbourne Archdiocese (”Church offers $5000 payout”, The Age, 5/12)? The crime was his conscientious dissent from the Catholic Church’s demand for silence from its priests on the question of the ordination of women. Fr Reynolds’ ”voluntary” resignation and subsequent withdrawal of his priestly faculties, are consequences of his stand on this issue. For continuing his ministry to Catholics marginalised by the church’s teachings, his Archbishop has recommended to Rome that he be removed from the priesthood, using church law provisions normally reserved for defrocking serial sex abusers. Not satisfied with this punishment, church authorities have reluctantly offered Fr Reynolds $5000 as compensation for 32 years of faithful service. This is no ordinary labour relations dispute. How does the archdiocese’s offer square with the remuneration benefits the church continues to pay convicted clerical abusers who have been removed from priestly ministry but still maintained by the church? What account was taken of Fr Reynolds’ regular contributions over 32 years to the priest’s retirement fund? This dispute cries out for a Christian leader with the courage and pastoral awareness to break this unseemly impasse and negotiate just terms of settlement. Archbishop Hart, are you such a leader?

    Read more:

  3. trophos says:

    I want to see the Latin text of the letter!! Seems to be unavailable, alas. Interesting story, as always.

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