While the Church is definitely no stranger to receiving criticism or dubias, seldom if ever does it excommunicate anyone for said thoughts and positions. For years, the Vatican has even welcomed dialogue with those who do not agree with the Church on certain teachings as well as controversial figures who have used rather harsh rhetoric over the years. Couple this with the ongoing negotiations with the Society of Saint Pius X, a priestly order whose adherents are very critical of the Vatican, and it will leave many to scratch their heads as to why their is buzz surround the Church and the possible, if not existent, excommunication of a professor and businessman in Colombian named José Galat Noumér.
Professor José Galat is an 88 year old catédratico (professor of highest esteem), former Partido Conservador (Conservative party) candidate in Colombia and co-founder of Teleamiga, a Catholic television station in Colombia. Not only is he the co-founder of the network, he also appears on network programs such as Café Con Galat (Coffee With Galat).
Galat is not only known throughout Colombia for his orthodoxy and unwavering support of Catholic tradition but also for his outspoken and the swiftness in which he defends tradition. However, it was this outspokenness that put him at odds with Church brass.
According to One Peter Five, Galat expressed doubts over the lawfulness of Pope Francis’s ordination in which he cited the “Sankt Gallen Mafia” in his doubt. The “Sankt Gallen Mafia” or “Sankt Gallen Group” as it is usually referred to is the alleged group of bishops who conspired to dethrone Pope Benedict XVI and install Pope Francis as new pope. It is a bit of a “Catholic conspiracy theories” if you will. Whether or not the Sankt Gallen Group existed or not is outside of the scope of this discussion, so I suggest doing your own research on the subject and coming to your own conclusions. In addition to these statements, he is also a vocal critic of Pope Francis’s attitudes towards Catholic teaching and morality. You can read more details surrounding Galat’s doubts on One Peter Five’s website, where Maike Hickson outlines them wonderfully. However I must add that the tone I get from the article is one of definite excommunication which is something I do not feel comfortable declaring I’ve found no definitive evidence (from Spanish or English sources) about the situation.
What I do know is, is that a lot of the speculation seems to surround this tweet from Monsignor Pedro Mercado:
— Mons Pedro Mercado (@pmercado2006) July 26, 2017
Long story short though, Galat’s often noted outspokenness now have him at odds with the very same Church he has long supported and the word around town is excommunication, the Church’s highest form of reprimand. To many this sets a very worrisome precedent, especially given the storied history of Pope Francis’s attitude towards traditionalist Catholics. What makes the matter even more suspicious though is that speculation of excommunication broke ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Colombia in September.
Speaking from my own opinion though, I would not be shocked if he is excommunicated or facing excommunication. His television station Teleamiga has already been reprimanded from what I can confirm. Couple this with the fact that the Church has been heading down a more modernist road over the years and the conclusion doesn’t seem far fetched. The liberal papacy of Francis indicates an additional symptom of this new modernist spirit as well. After all, Pope Francis’s entire papacy being riddled with doubts from traditional Catholics, appointments of liberal/pro-LGBT priests and bishops, a penchant for socialist politicians and several permissive or vague statements on issues of morality.
With all of the aforementioned in mind, it really comes to me as no shock that the Church would elect to excommunicate him if they have or will do so. After all he is a former conservative politician whose loyal to a fault to Church teaching, a recipe that has become the poster child of “scrupulosity”, “rigidism” or whatever other codeword that many in the Church have for tradition.
I will concede though that the tone in which Galat speaks is harsh, perhaps a bit combative, and that he should have used more caution with his statements; however, the attacks he faces just for expressing his own personal doubts and opinions are not exactly the most charitable either. To me there are better ways to go about this situation than the endless cycle of loathing and personal attacks that have masqueraded in the media and I find it all to be unproductive.
Given all of this into consideration, all I can in closing is that I can only hope that this entire situation ends on a positive outcome and that his “thought crime” does not end up as something to deem him unworthy of a Catholic burial.