Contra Mozilla

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Slanted Reporting: Excommunication Edition

Australia's laicized former priest*, Greg Reynolds, has been excommunicated--and not by his local ordinary. The excommunication comes from the Vatican, perhaps from Pope Francis himself. That is pretty much automatic when one has been laicized and one continues to celebrate the Eucharist--I'm not a canon lawyer, but I do believe that this is something like simulating a sacrament and celebrating an illicit Mass, which together carry the automatic penalty of excommunication, regardless of whether the man in question is also a "dissident" (he is) concerning serious matters of faith or morality (in his case, both).

Oddly enough, the article linked by New Advent has the same spin one would expect from the mainstream media: they never come out an say that the Vatican is wrong to laicize or excommunicate him. However, the implications are certainly there, and it is also implied that excommunication is something to take lightly (it is not):

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.

''In times past excommunication was a huge thing, but today the hierarchy have lost such trust and respect,'' he said.

''I've come to this position because I've followed my conscience on women's ordination and gay marriage.''...

Father Reynolds is not the first Australian Catholic to be excommunicated. The best-known was Sister Mary MacKillop, who was excommunicated by her local bishop but was reinstated. In 2010 she became Australia's first saint.

Note the comparison: Sister Mary MacKillop was once excommunicated, and now she's a saint. The implication couldn't be clearer. However, in this case it's not the local bishop doing the excommunicating, nor is Mr. Reynolds likely to be reinstated anytime soon. Nor, for that matter, does one discern any heroic virtues about him, any sense of personal holiness, or of beatitude. I'm not saying that he can't be a saint, for we are all sinners and any man can repent; God's grace can seep into any soul which is open to it. However, Mr. Reynolds strikes me as being more sanctimonious than saintly, a saints do not typically show such selfish pride as to be deliberately dissident on matters of doctrine and dogma.

Heaven is not the home of those who are hellbent in their heresies to the point of obstinacy and final impenitence.

*Ordination leaves an indelible mark, so former priest may not actually be accurate here. When he dies, his soul will retain the mark of ordination, whether bound for purgatory and heaven or for hell.

Update: A palate cleanser from Dr Edward Peters.

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