On September 24th 2006 Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, of Zambia, defied the Vatican by ordaining four married priests. On September 26th the Vatican issued a press release announcing that he had been excommunicated for “ordaining bishops without the approval of the Holy See.”
On December 11th 2006, in defiance of that excommunication, Milingo ordained a further four married priests in Washington. On December the 17th, six days later, the Vatican issued a press release announcing that he had been dismissed “from the clerical state” — apparently an extraordinary measure that made the participation of Catholics in any ceremonies led by him unlawful (in the eyes of the church). “The commission of these grave crimes, which has recently been established,” said the press release, “is to be considered as proof of the persistent contumacy of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The Holy See has therefore been obliged to impose upon him the further penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.” All the clergy he ordained were excommunicated automatically too.
Milingo had been defying the church for many years. But when he finally committed what the Vatican thought was a ‘grave crime’, there was no delay. Flagrantly breaking with the doctrine of celibacy was met with swift, decisive condemnation. The men he ordained were removed immediately too.
In 1978 the Reverend Stephen Kiesle, of Oakland, California, pleaded no contest to charges of tying up and molesting two young boys in a rectory. He was not removed from the church until 1987, despite requesting it himself in 1981.