A Brazilian Catholic priest, known for protesting the church’s continuing resistance of LGBT rights, has been excommunicated immediately following his resignation.
Father Roberto Francisco Daniel, also known as Father Beto, held his last mass on April 28. Hundreds of worshippers filled the Church of St. Anthony to say farewell. Father Beto had posted a video on YouTube in which he said that “we should simply be considered as gendered beings and not as homosexuals or bisexuals since love can spring at all these levels,” and questioned some of the church’s dogma.
Bishop Caetano Ferrari responded by accusing him of “heresy,” commanding him to retract what he had said and confess his errors; instead, two days before the deadline he was given, Father Beto announced that he would leave the ministry. He posted his decision to resign on social media, where he also advised the church to cease condemning the LGBT community, in light of what he referred to as “new realities.”
The topic of his farewell mass was Jesus Christ’s love for all people, “regardless of their social condition, race or sexuality.”
The diocese that he had served released a statement that “Father Roberto Francisco Daniel can no longer celebrate the divine rite because he has been excommunicated.”
The former priest is not the only one cast out for expressing views counter to the Catholic Church’s judgments.
Argentina’s José Nicolás Alessio was excommunicated for publicly supporting marriage equality in early April, the day after Uruguay became the second country in Latin America to legalize it.
In contrast, although Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned in late February as leader of Scotland’s Catholic Church following accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct, he is being allowed to remain a Cardinal.
The Vatican initially claimed it would investigate the matter once a new Pope had been elected, but at the end of April, over a month and a half after the appointment of Pope Francis, the church announced that no action would be taken.