Australian rebel priest excommunicated
Dissident was in favor of women's ordination and gay marriage
Picture: The Age
Dissident priest Greg Reynolds has been both defrocked and excommunicated over his support for women priests and gays - the first person ever excommunicated in Melbourne, he believes.
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.
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.
Father Reynolds, who resigned as a parish priest in 2011 and last year founded Inclusive Catholics, said he had expected to be laicised (defrocked), but not excommunicated. But it would make no difference to his ministry.
''I've come to this position because I've followed my conscience on women's ordination and gay marriage.''....
....Father Reynolds said he was called to meet the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, John Salvano, a canon lawyer, to ''discuss some issues'' on Wednesday morning.
When he arrived, Father Salvano translated the document for him.
''He told me that Denis Hart did not apply for me to be laicised, but someone else unknown has gone over his head and contacted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [formerly the Inquisition].
''The Vatican never contacted me, and it gives no explanation.''
Father Reynolds was penniless when he resigned as a Melbourne priest, and was later offered $5000 as a payout for his 32 years of service, though he says the usual figure is about $1500 per year of service - in his case, $48,000. Negotiations are continuing.
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