No wine and biscuit for you

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.


  1. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    He’s so lucky that excommunication is now “the church’s harshest punishment”. He’s lucky he’s not living in a time or place where heresy is treated as a capital crime. There were of course times and places where his church did that; there are places today where other faiths still do.It’s a measure of human progress how far we have come from that and a bloody shame that we still have so far to go in stopping the maiming, torturing and killing of people for imaginary crimes.

  2. gardengnome says

    Frankie’s obviously been put in place to soften the image of the papacy after Ratzo’s flinty conservatism. He won’t actually change anything, just give it a smilingly benevolent veneer. How thin that veneer is Greg Reynolds has already learned.

  3. Al Dente says

    So Pope Frank may sorta-kinda maybe in a fashion perhaps talk the talk but he doesn’t even pretend to walk the walk.

  4. Silentbob says

    @ 1 Your Name’s not Bruce?

    It’s a measure of human progress how far we have come from [the church treating heresy as a capital crime] and a bloody shame that we still have so far to go in stopping the maiming, torturing and killing of people for imaginary crimes.

    The galling thing is we still have numpties claiming that our modern morality rests on “Judeo-Christian values”… as if the Church wouldn’t still be burning people at the stake if not for the Enlightenment reaction against religious dogmatism in the 18th century.

  5. says

    Reynolds was excommunicated, Brandon Eckerson wasn’t. That tells you all you need to know.

    And neither have the thousands of priests who raped and molested over the centuries. Until pope Imbroglio does something about them, it’s all propaganda and pope agenda, all public relations and private retaliations.

    Today [excommunication] is the church’s harshest punishment

    Only because they can’t get away with torturing and burning people any more.

  6. Omar Puhleez says

    Your Name’s not Bruce?@#1:

    “He’s so lucky that excommunication is now “the church’s harshest punishment”. He’s lucky he’s not living in a time or place where heresy is treated as a capital crime….”

    But careful now, careful. I have had it on the authority of a spokesman for the Catholic Evidence Guild (I’m pretty sure it was that organisation) that the Church never burned anyone to death or punished anyone. Not even by a slap on the wrist.

    In those olden days, heresy was a crime against the state. And what better authority was there than the Church to decide whether or not some statement or other was heresy? So having communicated its careful evaluation to the state, it was the state that did the punishing, burning, etc. Not the Holy Squeaky Clean Church.

  7. gheathen says

    Thank you! I shall be spreading this to everyone I’ve offended over the past several months by insisting that Frank is all mouth, no trousers. He’s the most accomplished master of spin his organisation has ever had as a leader. People seem to be so desperate for reform that they’ll swallow anything.

    I’d bet that the only thing they’ll pick up on though is that the excommunication process would have been started a long time before Frank took office. “He didn’t have to sign off on it”, I’ll say, but will they listen?

  8. HappyNat says


    Yup, rape innocent youth and the church will protect you. Support people in a loving relationship who happen to be gay and get excommunicated. I guess I just don’t understand the RCC’s “morality”. I’m sure it’s very sophisticated and has nothing to do with the image and the bottom line of donations. What a bunch of backwards evil assholes.

  9. says

    In February 2011 Boston-based Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin — in “an act of humble service” — washed the feet of “a representative group” of those affected by the sexual abuse of priests. The group included prominent victims Marie Collins and Christine Buckley.

    A group of survivors in defiance went up to the altar during communion, and placed homemade baby shoes on it, to signify what they had thought of the farcical washing of the feet act of very traumatic survivors. I was one of them. When I returned to the back of the chapel, a garda, asked me to remove myself from the Pro-Cathedral. I told her politely that I’d been good enough to have been baptised there for the glory/benefit of the church, but not good enough to silently express my opinion on the hypocrisy of said church. I pointed out too that it was not her remit to remove me, as it was, as far, as I had gathered private property. Luckily, there was not any tension between us, as I know that An Garda Síochána in general are very sympathetic towards survivors. I didn’t budge an inch.

    Fast forward:

    After an Easter mass ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica this year, Pope Francis also kissed and washed the feet of young offenders at a Rome prison. It had been reported in the media at the time that Pope Francis had “made a remarkable gesture to demonstrate the church’s commitment to marginalised in society.” In my estimation, it was purely a publicity stunt, just like it was with survivors. Taking on the mantle of St. Francis of Assisi and fetishising the poor is very marketable these days. It draws vulnerable lost souls like a magnet to the church. It presently suits the Church climate hugely. The RCC church is expert at same. The Jesuits are a force to be reckoned with indeed.

    And whilst all this so called humble pusillanimous washing of feet malarkey is going on with the poor, the pope sees fit to excommunicate Father Greg Reynolds of Melbourne for having conflicting views on the church. The very shrewd intellectual Jesuits must have their way. Keep one part of the church happy, because the poor souls make up the biggest numbers, given the geographical demographics, whilst simultaneously persecuting those who don’t adhere to strict antediluvian laws laid out by the church.

  10. Tim Harris says

    What are the economic disadvantages to the priest (if any) that result from his excommunication?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *