The Catholic Church has excommunicated a Brazilian priest after he defended homosexuality, open marriage and other practices counter to Church teaching in online videos.
In a statement released late on Monday, the priest’s diocese said Father Roberto Francisco Daniel, known to local parishioners as Padre Beto, had “in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ betrayed the promise of fealty to the Church.”
The priest “injured the Church with grave statements counter to the dogma of Catholic faith and morality.” The actions amount to “heresy and schism,” the statement said, the penalty for which is excommunication, or expulsion from the Church.
The rare punishment follows what Daniel’s bishop and the priest himself said were repeated rebukes about the videos and other public activities, such as a radio broadcast and local newspaper column, in which he challenged Church doctrine.
The 47-year-old cleric, who studied theology in Germany, is popular in the southeastern city of Bauru, where he has been a priest since 2001. He is known for his rock T-shirts, a silver stud pierced through his right ear and his habit of posing, as on his official Facebook page, with a glass of beer.
On Facebook and Twitter, Daniel posted a brief statement about the excommunication: “I feel honored to belong to the long list of people who have been murdered and burned alive for thinking and searching for knowledge.”
- Brazil priest excommunicated over support for gays (rappler.com)
- Priest excommunicated over gay support (news.com.au)