An Australian priest who supports women’s ordination and gay marriage recently found out that he had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Francis because of his views. Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia was surprised by the news because he was under the impression that the Catholic Church was going to be adopting a more liberal attitude towards certain social issues under Pope Francis’ leadership. “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 said.
Reynolds is the first priest from his area to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church for a reason other than pedophilia. Excommunicated church members can no longer participate in the sacraments or worship ceremonies, Time reported.
He was informed of the decision via a letter. “Pope Francis, 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," the letter read. It was signed by Archbishop Gerhard Muller and his secretary, Jesuit Archbishop Luis Ladaria.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart sent a letter of his own to archdiocesan priests informing them about the reason for Reynolds' dismissal. "The decision by Pope Francis to dismiss Fr Reynolds from the clerical state and to declare his automatic excommunication has been made because of his public teaching on the ordination of women contrary to the teaching of the Church and his public celebration of the Eucharist when he did not hold faculties to act publicly as a priest," Hart wrote.
Despite what has happened, Reynolds hasn’t changed his views. "I see Women's Ordination as a matter of justice and important for the renewal of the church,” he said. “The current teaching is sexist and helping to reinforce the ongoing oppression of women particularly in the developing world."