Priest who denied Pope Francis laicized, bishop urges reparation for sexual abuse

Catholic News Agency

November 2, 2020

A California priest who was excommunicated after denying the legitimacy of Pope Francis has been laicized, according to a Nov. 2 letter from his bishop. The priest has also been accused of sexual coercion and manipulation, prompting Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento to call priests to a day of fasting and reparation for the sins of clerical sexual abuse.

“On September 10, 2020 the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted the personal request of Fr. Jeremy Leatherby for a return to the lay state and a dispensation from the promise of celibacy…. Mr. Jeremy Leatherby was informed of the Holy Father’s decision on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Mr. Leatherby no longer has any responsibilities or rights proper to the clerical state. The Catholic Faithful are admonished not to participate in Mass or any further sacraments attempted by him,” Bishop Soto wrote in a Nov. 2 letter.

In August, Leatherby explained that he continued to celebrate Mass in public settings, despite a prohibition from his bishop against doing so. He also admitted that he did not accept the papacy of Pope Francis.

“I continue to regard Benedict as retaining the Office of Peter, as mysterious as that might be. Therefore, I do not regard Bergoglio as the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church,” Leatherby wrote.

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