Pope Francis's Vatican Excommunicates Pro-LGBT Priest

Published: September 24, 2013

Last week, Pope Francis once again made international headlines by saying something nice about LGBT people. And just like the last time Francis had nice-sounding words for our community, I was the proverbial fly in the ointment, counseling caution even as others tripped over themselves to praise the pontiff. As I noted then, Francis’s words represented a change in tone, not in teaching — and while that’s very nice and all, the way the official Church treats gays and lesbians isn’t likely to improve in anything more than a superficial manner until Catholicism no longer calls us "intrinsically disordered."

 
Sadly, just days after Pope Francis scolded his church for being "obsessed" with LGBT rights and women’s rights, his Vatican is proving exactly how little has actually changed: Fr. Greg Reynolds (above), a Roman Catholic priest from Australia, was excommunicated from that church — get this — because he supports marriage equality and women’s ordination. And the order came right from the Vatican.
 
 
The document excommunicating Father Greg Reynolds was written in Latin, and which gave no reasons, came from the Vatican, and came just days after Pope Francis’ speech.
 
Father Reynolds had told The Age that he expected to be defrocked, but that he did not expect to be excommunicated.
 
"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… The Vatican never contacted me, and it gives no explanation."
 
francis.jpgExcommunication is the method by which the Catholic Church kicks people out, formally excludes them from the community of believers. Its use as a penalty is exceedingly rare and is reserved only for what it views as the most serious of sins.
 
What sins exactly? Well, not child rape — no priests have ever been excommunicated for that. But supporting marriage equality and women’s ordination? In Pope Francis’s Vatican, that’s apparently far worse than pedophilia and, as such, an excommunicable offense.
 
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: when it comes to the way the Catholic Church treats LGBT people, actions speak far louder than words. And today’s actions confirm that on that front — breathless, pearl-clutching adulation for Pope Francis notwithstanding — nothing of substance has changed.
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