Andrew Sullivan , not surprisingly, joined the stampede of those who found in the famous interview with the pope a Francis who doesn’t actually exist, complete with readings of his predecessors that missed the point of what they’d said. It’s the old story of dissident Catholic wishful thinking or willful misreading. In the course of doing so Sullivan referred to our deputy editor Matthew Schmitz as one of the “reactionaries and legalists” against whom Sullivan believes he and the pope are now allied.

Except that they’re not. Helpfully, given the widespread insistence on this reading of Francis, the Australian newspaper The Age reports that Francis has defrocked and  excommunicated a priest who holds the views Sullivan seems to think Francis holds, if in much less overt form. Very sad for the former priest, of course, who does not seem to have understood what he has lost, but a useful sign of Francis’ attitudes and beliefs.

Update: I’ve posted more on the excommunication here .

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