Excommunicated Australian priest Greg Reynolds says he never gave holy Communion to a dog, an assertion backed by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, reports NCR.
'I did not give a consecrated host to any dog or any animal and never would,' Reynolds told NCR in an email on September 24.
Reynolds said during the September 18 meeting at which he learned he had been removed from the clerical state and excommunicated, he was asked 'very directly and specifically' if he gave Communion to a dog. He said he told Fr John Salvano, the canon lawyer for the Melbourne archdiocese, that he did not.
In an emailed response to NCR, Archbishop Denis Hart appeared to verify that he sided with Reynolds' account of what transpired. 'From media reports, the archdiocese is aware of the presence of Reynolds where the sacred species were given by another person to an animal. That anyone would feed the Eucharist to an animal is an abomination,' Hart said.
According to Archbishop Hart - in a letter to his priests and also a statement to NCR - the decisions to remove Reynolds from the clerical state and excommunicate him came 'because of his public teaching on the ordination of women contrary to the teaching of the church and his public celebration of the Eucharist when he did not hold faculties to act publicly as a priest.'