We’ve been hearing more and more nonsense about how marvelous the new pope is, in particular from James Carroll in the New Yorker and on Fresh Air. Carroll takes the new pope’s talk about poor people with immense seriousness. He’s been depressed about the church for decades, ever since John 23 did some good things which were reversed the instant he popped his clogs.
Wouldn’t you think that would tell him something? Even if a comparatively not-so-fascist pope gets in somehow and says some nice things…the next one will throw them all out the window. The church isn’t a thing that can reform reliably, because it’s not set up that way.
Anyway…about that marvelous new pope. I was looking at something else so I missed this item last September.
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.
The pope is the pope is the pope. There are no marvelous ones.