An Australian priest has been defrocked and excommunicated by the Vatican because of his support for gay marriage and female priests.
Father Greg Reynolds told the The Age that his complete dismissal from the Catholic Church came directly from Rome and not from the Archbishop of Melbourne.
“I’ve come to this position because I’ve followed my conscience on women’s ordination and gay marriage,” said Reynolds.
“The Vatican never contacted me, and it gives no explanation,” he added.
The punishments against Reynolds are seen as the harshest possible by the church.
He said that he will nevertheless continue to run his Inclusive Catholics ministry, despite the excommunication.
While the excommunication order from the Vatican was dated May 31, it only made headlines in the wake of recent comments by Pope Francis suggesting a softening of the church’s stance on homosexuality.
Despite this, the order was issued after Francis came into office as Pope in March.
In July, Francis said that he is not in a position to judge gay people. Last week he stated that the church should not be obsessed by minor “dogmatic and moral teachings” on issues such as gay marriage.