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Church gets medieval on a priest's ass

The Rev. Ned Reidy allows gays to take communion, has ordained women clergy and was put on trial for heresy in one-day closed hearing, conducted by three priests at the headquarters of the Diocese of San Bernardino. The man’s already been excommunicated, so this is yet another attempt at a public shaming designed to bring wayward Catholics in line. This will be about as effective as the church’s moronic edict that gays must be swept from the seminaries. (365gay):

He is accused of heresy defined as “the rejection of fundamental matters of Catholic faith at the highest levels,” such as papal authority, according to the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesperson for the diocese.

Reidy, 69, also is charged with schism for breaking communion with the Roman Catholic church. If convicted, he could appeal to the Vatican, although Reidy said he would have no interest in doing so. The court’s decision will be announced to Reidy at an unspecified future date but it does not have to be made public, Lincoln said.

Reidy called the trial “medieval” and contends that it has no authority because he stopped being a Roman Catholic in 1999.

“I just think the discourtesy level is appalling,” he said in a telephone interview. “I have moved way beyond all that and the brutality of the Roman Catholic church and for me to go would give a certain legitimacy to this witch hunt.”

Reidy doesn’t consider himself a Roman Catholic priest any more, but under canonical law he remains a one until he is formally excommunicated and defrocked. He is pastor of the 100-member Community of the Risen Christ, a denomination that considers itself Catholic (it celebrates the sacraments), but it doesn’t believe in the infallibility of the pope. The church gets extra bonus heresy points for permitting married and female clergy.

Just to put into perspective how ridiculous this is — note the Catholic Church has decided to step into the time-traveling DeLorean to find its bearings:

The most famous heresy trial in history may have been Galileo’s second trial before the Inquisition in 1633. The astronomer was found guilty of heresy for promoting the view that the earth revolves around the sun. He was ordered to recant and was sentenced to imprisonment, which turned into lifelong house arrest.

…Some Roman Catholic scholars told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that they were unaware of any other heresy trials in the United States. Such cases are rare anywhere in modern times, said Msgr. Thomas Green, a professor of canon law at The Catholic University of Washington in Washington, D.C.

“By and large, once you get past the Council of Trent and the 1600s and 1700s, you don’t hear much about it,” he said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding