Pope Francis Excommunicates Priest Who Backed Women’s Ordination and Gays

Despite his reforming attitude, Francis still supports traditional doctrine

  • Share
  • Read Later
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Pope Francis drives through the crowds during the Inauguration Mass for the Pope in St Peter's Square on March 19, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia found out last week that Pope Francis had excommunicated him, and he was shocked. Granted, Reynolds holds less than traditional views in the Catholic Church—he supports women’s ordination and gay marriage—but Pope Francis has more than hinted lately that the Church needs to adopt a new tone towards those social issues. “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, a widely read source for Catholic news.

Excommunication is a severe penalty in the Catholic Church. Today it is the church’s harshest punishment, and it means an individual can no longer participate in the sacraments or worship ceremonies, much less ever officiate a mass again. Reynolds’ letter of excommunication itself contained no official explanation for his excommunication. It accused Reynolds of heresy and claimed he had violated the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Reynolds told the National Catholic Reporter that he also believes he was excommunicated because of his support for the gay community. He has officiated mass weddings for gay couples, even though he claimed they were unofficial, and he justified his actions as a call for reform. “I still love the church and am committed to it,” he told the Standard newspaper, arguing he was trying “to help highlight some of the failing and limitations.”

Pope Francis has made waves lately for advocating for necessary reforms in the Catholic Church, especially when it comes to gays and women. While the Supreme Pontiff does have to sign off on excommunications, Francis may not be as directly responsible for Reynolds’ dismissal as it might initially appear. Excommunication processes tend to take a long time, even years, and Reynolds was likely already tagged for removal before Francis took office in March. His non-traditional views stem back years. He preached in support of women’s ordination in 2010, resigned as a priest in the Melbourne Archdiocese in 2011, and yet continued to practice as a priest without the authority and backing of the church. He then founded a group called “Inclusive Catholics” for people who also support women’s ordination and gay marriage.

However, the announcement serves as a reminder that despite the recent excitement over Pope Francis’ reforming attitudes and calls for increased compassion for women and gays, he has not changed any actual Catholic doctrine, nor is he likely to do so. Women’s ordination and gay marriage are still closed doors. The Pope, as they say, is still Catholic.

144 comments
AugieJanke
AugieJanke

People in the LGBT community should start there own church. Mine will NEVER accept your lifestyle. You can live the way you want and i will live the way i want. See, thats easy! Move on!

DeepRaj
DeepRaj

If you want to conduct gay marriages or ordinate female priests, better form a religion of your own where you can do all that and more. I wonder why the author and some of those posting comments on this article want the Catholic Church to do it? So stupid...

JPath92
JPath92

Are you guys for real with your comments towards pope francis?? look at the title of the article.. and then READ the article and you'll find within it.. 


"Excommunication processes tend to take a long time, even years, and Reynolds was likely already tagged for removal before Francis took office in March."


...jeeez 



rbdnord
rbdnord

Rape thousands of little First Nations children, carry on. 

Say women should have the right to be priests: you're out. 

Did anyone really believe his press?

raidx259
raidx259

I guess he can start his own church. And marry whoever he wants and ordain men, women and children.

WesleyCole
WesleyCole

the catholic religion STILL sucks like ALL of them

Duckworks
Duckworks

Religions all have their dogmas and codes of conduct, and obeying them is the price of membership. And most mainstream religious groups--from Hinduism, to the Baha'i Faith, observant Sephardi and Orthodox Judaism, most Buddhist sects, all Muslim sects, and the Mormon, Baptist, Mennonite, Orthodox, Coptic, and Mormon Christian churches--condemn homosexuality, and do not ordain female clergy. If you don't like that, fine--find another religious group to join. But liberal-secularists are idiots if they think groups like the Catholic Church will 'come around' to their late 20th Century progressive thinking, and are in for a nasty surprise if they think they can force things like gay tolerance on the religious.

tdstec
tdstec

As hazy as the boundaries have become between America and a dictatorship, do we not still have the Constitutional guarantee to practice our faith freely? Catholic doctrine is what it is- if you do not agree, find another faith. In the meantime, leave Catholics alone to pursue their spiritual path according to doctrine and conscience. Why does the homosexual community feel the need to seek validation from the Catholic Church? There are numerous Christian denominations which embrace alternate lifestyles. Follow your individual conscience, that is, if the term " individual" still has any meaning left in America

dellflorida
dellflorida

Let's move child molesting priests around from church to church, but swiftly excommunicate any priests who violate doctrine...

dellflorida
dellflorida

Ask the pope about the Royal Abbesses of Europe-women from the 1`200's to the 1600's all over Europe,appointed by pope's to run large abbeys. They wore the robes of a bishop at their ordination. See the book 'The :ady Was a BIshop'  by scholar  Joan Morris. Could all of those  popes have been wrong ? It is a real part of church history.

em4rtz
em4rtz

pretty sure if there's a hell all popes end up going there. 

BobR
BobR

Meet the new boss...same as the old boss. Man of the year? my foot. This pope is just as bigoted and myopic as all the other popes. Hes the head of a false religion and antiquated mythology and nothing more. He speaks of compassion and forgiveness but his acts are not in alignment with his words. Hes mysogynistic and homophobic and he rejects the outcasts. This is why the catholic church will continue losing members and will become even more irrelevant. Typical dualistic hypocrite who occupies the lowest rungs of consciousness on the Great Spiral.

sarindonga
sarindonga

If the Catholic Church were aware of what regular Catholic people do, almost everyone would be excommunicated. It's crazy. I find it a bit extreme on the Pope's behalf. He could at least talked it out with the priest or given him a warning. Anyway, there is no point in trying to make sense of something I don't even believe in anymore.


Jbethlehem
Jbethlehem

The Catholic Church is not a democracy.  You need to abide by the rules set forth or find a religious denomination that you feel more comfortable with.  He knew the churches teaching and turned his back.  True Francis is looking to lighten the hard line the church has taken in the past, but thumbing your nose at its current teachings and then being suprised at the Churches reaction makes no sense.    I think this priest needs to find another line of work or a denomination he can do what he wishes in.

FranklinBacon
FranklinBacon

So he resigned and refused to do the jobs his employer assigned him. Then he does jobs which his employer neither asked for nor wanted. I think that is grounds for termination, having nothing to do with his views on women nor gays.

JeffJackson
JeffJackson

I look forward to learning more about Father Greg Reynolds and his support of women's ordination and marriage equality.  I'm also hopeful the Pope's global survey on the family will surface more and more stories of how normal families are living in the real world.  In my world, women are already leaders and gay families are everywhere; women and gay families are doing their best to contribute to a better world, despite outdated institutions that breed ignorance and discrimination. 


Confessions of a Gay Married Priest is another priest's story that came out last January and provides honest, compelling, humorous and inspirational witness to the real world that it seems Pope Francis wants to join.  Maurice L. Monette's memoir has favorable reviews; book cover testimonials include Catholic priests like Father Richard Rohr, nuns like Sister Jeannine Gramick, global human rights activists like sexologist Mariela Castro (daughter of the Cuban President), academics and other world leaders.  I posted a link to the book on Pope Francis's Facebook page in July.  Monette recently sent the Pope a signed copy of the book. If read, I'm sure the Pope will recognize it's grounding in sound liberation theology. 


The former marketing director for National Catholic Reporter, Dan Grippo, says of Monette's book, “It’s the one book I recommend for Pope Francis.  The lessons Monette shares are lessons for the future church where all women, men and children are appreciated and welcomed in their diversity. ”


Who knows if the Church will address any time soon the real-world issues raised by Father Greg Reynolds. Who know's if Monette's story will ultimately be read or will even make a difference.  What I do know as Monette's husband of 25 years is that we're not waiting around holding our breath.  There are pressing issues to address in the real world. When the Church is ready to recognize women's leadership and all of our God-given dignity, we'll happily work with the Church on solving the world's big issues.   



BorisIII
BorisIII

I have always wondered why women love talking to gay guys so much.  A gay friend of mine called them gay groupies.

KirkNienaber
KirkNienaber

Are there any decent reporters in the world anymore? 

StealthAve
StealthAve

I'm no fan of the Church, or of the Pope, but this article leaves out a lot of information and misleads with the title. We don't know if he was let go BECAUSE of his beliefs. If so, shame on the Church and Pope. But it could have been some other reason. Not enough info to leap to the conclusion this writer leaps to.

TomJohnson
TomJohnson

The time and money wasted on these outdated and bizarre truly superstitions would solve all other world problems in a snap of the fingers. 

BillyJ.Bell
BillyJ.Bell

You can bet your last pound, shilling or dollar that Pope Francis is gay.

I can't believe any straight man would agreed to never have a wife, or sex with a woman and run around in a dress (I know it's called a robe), give me a break, it completely obvious.

The reason that the Catholic Church has so many homosexuals is that they actually recruit for them, and I can't believe anyone would not realize this fact.

If that's what you want for the Church just tell the truth about it and don't pretend something else, please, just be honest -- don't be a hyprochrite.

When the Catholic Church went through the "Inquisition Period" where the put over 500k people to death, most were females, it was about money and power -- let's just be honest about who we are.


SmoothEdward1
SmoothEdward1

Find another church. It doesn't matter whether this excommunication was started before Francis became Pope. He is the Pope, he could stop it if wished.

sparrow
sparrow

strike 1.

i give the benefit of the doubt to the pope. and if this priest did give communion years ago to a german shepherd, there must be an issue with the priest long before pope francis came in. and could have been an order that from the previous german pope.

pope francis' position is critical. if he fails, it means religion cannot clear the bar set by science and reason. and art, too. obviously, when future mankind goes to mars and other worlds, religion is left behind. discrimination and bigotry has no place in the universe.

laith
laith

The idea that Pope Francis excommunicated Reynolds for having unorthodox views is a little concerning. It doesn’t quite correlate with the rest of Francis’s beliefs and attitudes. The real reason Reynolds was excommunicated is very vague. “Heresy and violation of the sacrament.” This could mean anything. It is speculation to say that Francis did it because of his unorthodox views.

 There are many examples of others who have shared similar views to Reynolds. Most weren’t excommunicated. Many powers are at play in the Vatican. It could’ve easily been another Church members influence that saw the excommunication of Reynolds. There quite frankly isn’t enough here to point the finger at Francis. The article admits this, thankfully.

disciple96
disciple96

@dalehusar @TIMEWorld Yo, Time, the priest excommunicated himself by becoming something other than Catholic. The Pope just made it official.

JCF
JCF

The title of this article is entirely misleading and a piece of junk journalism.  We have no idea WHY the priest was ex-communicated, only that he happened to support gays and women being ordained, and his excommunication was started long before Pope Francis became Pope. Perhaps it's a case of  true, true, and unrelated. Maybe he was a pedophile or committing some other mortal sin.  Why do ex-Catholics and non-Catholics focus so much on these 2 topics?  Gay marriage is not in the Bible and is unlikely to ever be approved by any of the mainstream religions, based on the Bible.  And women who worshiped the God of Abraham were never ordained "priests" in the Bible.  So what?  Aren't there more important things to be concerned with?  The media focusing on these issues and distorting all the good that Pope Francis is bringing to the Church are just as bad as the hard right who focus on these issues to the exclusion of all others--isn't THAT what Pope Francis has been trying to emphasize?

nicmart
nicmart

The government has an obligation to refrain from discrimination. Hence, I support gay marriage, But the Catholic church is an entirely private organization, and like gay organizations, can do what it pleases. If you don't like it start your own church.

Discursions
Discursions

Reporting on the church in secular media outlets like Time tends to be deeply misleading for two reasons: 1) your reporters have no idea what they're talking about, and 2) they tend to report what they wish were true or what they think would make a big splash.  So, if the pope says he stands by the catechism, which teaches that we shouldn't obsess about single issues but rather have a holistic approach to the faith, it's reported as if he's condemning his predecessors (i.e., the popes who wrote the very catechism he is announcing his allegiance to).  That kind of reporting is more the wishful thinking variety -- "hey, maybe we finally have a pope who will bless abortions and gay marriages!" -- but it also represents the ignorance problem as well, since no one actually familiar with what JP2 or Benedict were saying could possibly find anything Francis has said at all in contradiction of his predecessors.  I may be wrong, of course; your reporters could know very well that Francis is completely orthodox in his social teaching.  Perhaps they are knowingly misleading your readers in order to push a progressive social agenda.  I think, though, it's more charitable to assume that they're ignorant than that they're willfully dishonest.

MitchChrest
MitchChrest

@DeepRaj Because the further we outcast the Catholic Church as a bigoted, outdated theology in an age of increasing knowledge and acceptance, the sooner we are to be rid of them.

grailgal
grailgal

@DuckworksExactly why the RCC will wither on it's own vine eventually.  Women shouldn't expect a religion that exists in and was born of Patriarchy to ever allow them equal status - their very existence was predicated on the oppression of women.  That's why priests are no longer able to marry - those pesky wives and children actually expected to inherit from their husbands - can't have that.  From what I read, thousands of wives and children were turn out in the cold with no support whatsoever.  I cannot wait until humans evolve to the point where they no longer need a Big Fire Throwing Long White Haired Old Man in the Sky to rule their lives.  Now had we continued on the course of thinking of the Earth as our Mother, this world would have evolved beyond needing a parental figurehead long ago.

epitygxanwn
epitygxanwn

@tdstec For the moment, we do still have most of those liberties. But they are being eroded as many loud voices on the Left argue for an interpretation of "religious freedom" more appropriate for the Stalin Constitution than for the US Constitution.

GarrusNorris
GarrusNorris

@dellflorida  "Excommunication processes tend to take a long time, even years..." I take it you missed that part, so let me enlighten you.

RichardLanders
RichardLanders

@dellflorida  There were limits on the power of an abbess because of their sex. Because an abbess, unlike an abbott, could not be a priest, she could not exercise spiritual authority over the nuns (and sometimes monks) under her general authority. A priest had that authority. She could hear confessions only of violations of the order's rule, not those confessions normally heard by the priest, and she could bless "as a mother" and not publicly as a priest could. She could not preside at communion. Wearing vestments and occasionally stepping outside the boundaries of their specific ministry based on personal hubris does not negate the Truth of the Church which provided them with the context for their existence.

FreeSpeech76
FreeSpeech76

@BobRThe Pope, or Catholics in general for that manner, has not done anything homophobic or 'rejected' the gay community. Yes, Catholics refuse to recognize gay mairrage, but that is a part of our faith. We would never physically hurt or preach hate against gays. Our religion tells us not to pratice or support homosexuality, but it also says to serve everyone, including those of other religions and values. We are called to preach and serve gay people, but we are forbidden to promote thier lifestyle. 

If you do not like this, then do not practice the Catholic faith. Nobody is forcing you. 

Diversity involves people with different values coexisting peacefully. This does not, however, mean that one culture must embrace every value of the other one. 





RichardLanders
RichardLanders

@BobR Your comments reveal a profound ignorance and bias which renders your opinion irrelevant.

BobR
BobR

@Jbethlehem teachings? what teachings? that isnt teaching....its bigotry and misogyny. The catholic church is built on mythology and the vatican sits atop the Temples of Mithras. Catholicism is the Greatest Story Ever Sold.

DaveLevesque
DaveLevesque

Termination, maybe, but excommunication? Not a good move IMO

RichardLanders
RichardLanders

@laith Excommunication is always appropriate, not concerning for those with heterodox views who use their positions of leadership to mislead others regarding the teachings of the Church which have not changed. This is a matter of substance, not of personal style.

nofail
nofail

@JCF Yeah ! Pope Francis wants a theology of women now. I think that the door to heaven is smaller for men, that is the terrible objective secret. The man is the prodigal son not the woman, but the reaction of God in this parable feels like a massive encouragement to men. But for women on the contrary I rationalize that "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. mark 9" really fits the women. For that the pope cleans the cardinals feet, he imitates a woman saint. I am very very curious about the theology of women. ;-) thanks to google Calico I hope to really see it ... Eve, Sarah, Maria, Magdalena, Joan, Teresa and Edith into a theology yeah !

RodT3
RodT3

@nicmart Pay taxes and I will support your endevors

Rorke
Rorke

@nicmart

I am often perplexed by this as well- I am a bi-sexual but I was also once upon a time a youth pastor.I never understood why someone who is homosexual would need to force a church to marry them.I could understand a government needing reform in this regard but a church?

That in its very essence is a suppression of a belief system.If your upset that the church is suppressing your beliefs about being homosexual how is it right to turn around and force them to believe as you do.Especially the Catholic Church… I mean common that’s kind of a lost cause folks.Why even waste your time and effort… it’s like trying to tell someone their not gay when they know in their being they are gay.You can preach and try to change them all the day long but that persons still going to be gay at the end of the day.Same for devote Catholics you can try to change them all the day long but at the end of the day their still going to think your sexual preference is a sin.

The best we can do is try to impose on them Jesus’s sayings about Loving your neighbor as yourself which I think this pope is trying to reestablish.If the church was loving that’s good enough for me.If homosexuals are loving that’s good enough for me.Why does either one need to force its will upon the other???

edglores
edglores

@Discursions I agree. Secular media should not report on the pope's antics at all.  They are misleading.  

justinstroh
justinstroh

@@Discursions  AMEN!   I think real journalism has something to do with knowing the subject of which one is reporting on.   Unfortunately, reports like this have nothing to do with real journalism and too much to do with manipulation of public thought.  They get away with this because they blur the line on reporting and opinion.  

AugieJanke
AugieJanke

Well if its all those things to you then why even comment? Why do you care? We are free to worship and believe what we want and so are you....move on Mitch!

tdstec
tdstec

Absolutely-- let's rid the world of diversity by our intolerance of religious freedom and embrace only the "diversity" we happen to agree with. Then we can have a society where our thought police squelch any and all notions which interrupt our homogeneous harmony. So, if you have convictions of your individuality, better check what the mob mindset is before admitting to them

MitchChrest
MitchChrest

@FreeSpeech76 You should really speak for yourself. I can find countless videos of Catholics preaching intolerance and unacceptance towards gays. For you to say that we (catholics) would NEVER do that, is absurd and an outright lie. And if you don't think it makes gay people's lives harder to be told that they are going to burn forever because your outdated book has a doctrine against it, then you do not feel as much empathy as you say you do.


RichardLanders
RichardLanders

@DaveLevesque He already excommunicated himself by resigning from the Archdiocese and then acting as a principal advocate of a shadow "church". Nothing surprising here.

nicmart
nicmart

@Rorke

In our time, the Catholic church has no legal power to impose views on anyone (at least in most countries). Congregants are volunteers.

Forcing the church to ordain women or gay priests is no more justified that requiring a gay bar to admit heterosexual patrons.

If most Catholics worldwide were tolerant of homosexuality, the church might change its policies, much as the Boy Scouts has done in the U.S. But such is not the case, and the church is not likely to impose toleration on its largely intolerant flock.

MartinHarvey
MartinHarvey

@tdstec Best. Reply. Ever.


And I'm all for women's rights, gay marriage and pro choice. But all of these supposedly "diverse" people who spew this hatred towards the Catholic Church and anyone who doesn't agree with them just don't realize what they are themselves becoming.


If you don't approve of gay marriage, don't enter into one.

If you are against abortion, don't have one.

If you don't like the Catholic Church, don't join it.

Seems simple to me.


nofail
nofail

@nicmart @Rorke I think that Pope Francis innovations are catholic. I agree with the catholic church that theology lacks a landsape to show that homosexuality is nurture not nature (I think that love is nature but falling in love with someone is nurture). The theology of women may adress many issues : women love (of God), priesthood, equality, and indirectly catholic men feeling they are women inside. Without this theology segregation is put before love, and announcing this theology the pope says the catholics can put love before segregation now. I think it is coherent. It is good news for christianity and for the said hidding gay sincere priests. I am protestant.