Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Greg Reynolds: The Vatican's Priorities In Australia

The excommunication of Greg Reynolds, a dissident Australian cleric, shows the Vatican is prepared and able to swiftly remove priests. Adam Brereton's report begins our Royal Commission coverage

In late September Greg Reynolds, a "rebel" Catholic priest operating outside the Church hierarchy in Melbourne, was laicised (defrocked, dismissed from the priesthood) and excommunicated.

Reynolds is not the only Australian priest to attract the ire of the Vatican in recent years — among others, the former Bishop of Toowoomba William Morris was forced into retirement in 2001 on doctrinal grounds, over his use of an alternative type of confession — but he is the first to be excommunicated by Pope Francis and the first to be defrocked during the operation of the Royal Commission.

He also appears to be the first Australian to be removed under special administrative powers to remove priests, set up by Rome in 2009. Reynolds' case is a litmus test that demonstrates the priorities and applications of Roman power.


New Matilda

By Adam Brereton

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