The religious foundress scheduled to be canonized on October 17 as Australia’s first saint was unjustly excommunicated by her bishop. So much has been known for a long time. It is claimed now that documents support the assertion that Blessed Mary McKillop was excommunicated because she was a whistle-blower who reported the misdeeds of an abusive priest. A priest-friend of the accused cleric, the assertion goes, was close to the bishop and pulled strings to have a saint excommunicated. Blessed Mary’s excommunication was lifted. St. Joan of Arc’s was not, and the French girl-warrior died under official ban of excommunication when she was burned at the stake. It’s good to remember that excommunication is not an infallible act, and that certain excommunications can be unjust and therefore invalid in the internal forum.
Remember that when you hear it said that “Father Feeney was excommunicated.” He, too, was a whistle-blower, of the doctrinal sort.