Father Greg Reynolds
The parish priest at Western Port, in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, says he expects to lose his job after the publication of a report in The Age today relating to a homily delivered two months ago endorsing women priests.
Father Greg Reynolds, 57, delivered a homily in his three parish churches, saying it was God's will for the church to have women priests and that, by refusing them, the church was obstructing the work of the Holy Spirit.
So none of his congregation would feel the need to report him, he sent his homily to Archbishop Hart.
''I am convinced in my heart that it is God's will that we should have women priests ... I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share my position publicly, and yet very reluctantly,'' the sermon said.
''I believe certain women are being called by God to the ministerial priesthood, and our official church is obstructing the work of the Holy Spirit. I feel I can no longer sit back and remain silent.''
Father Reynolds has since had amicable discussions with auxiliary bishop Tim Costelloe, then the archbishop himself, who warned the priest that if he went public the archbishop would be forced to dismiss him.
He said many Catholics agreed with him, including priests, and that he is a loyal Catholic who believed in loyal dissent: the church needs people who speak the truth.
Archbishop Hart said yesterday that Pope John Paul II had stated with his authority that the Catholic Church did not have the power to ordain women priests. ''That's the church's position, and that's my position.''
Fr Reynolds feels guilt for burdening his already overworked brother priests and the archbishop. ''He's got the toughest church job in the country, and I'll be creating another little headache for him. But generally I feel at peace and right about what I am doing.''
Catholic priest risks his future by calling for women clergy (The Age)
Image from St Mary's Primary School, Hastings