Wednesday, March 25, 2009

R.I.P. Lewis Green, or Excommunication Episcopal Style

(Gregory VII (Hildebrand or Hellebrand) issuing a ban of excommunication on the clergy and the King in lower left panel.)

Lewis W. Green who passed away on October 24, 2008 had the distinction of being excommunicated from All Souls Episcopal Cathedral in Asheville. He had in 2000 reportedly,
" made some very personal accusations about the Rev. Todd Donatelli, and at communion at one service, he walked up and gave the right reverend the finger right there in church."

Maybe Mr. Lewis Green had a trigger finger due to arthritis and had to keep that finger extended.

Read on from
"'Due to your refusal to seek reconciliation with the parish of All Souls and its members, and your continued efforts to attack this parish and its members, I hereby place you excommunicate,' wrote the cathedral's pastor, the Very Rev. Todd Donatelli.

Green was warned that if he sets foot on church property and refuses to leave, 'a warrant for trespass will be issued and a restraining order obtained,' Donatelli wrote.

Green has refused to back down: 'I said, It'll be a cold day in hell before I apologize. I don't look at this as a church; it's a liberal Democrat precinct.'"

and from
"'I've been writing bad things about gays for some time, deleterious things, and that's what this is about,' said Green, 68. 'What I'm doing is exercising my First Amendment rights, and if it's about them, too bad. There's nothing they can do about it.'"

Recall Jeremiah 7:27-30
27 So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you.
28 You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and throw it away;
raise a lamentation on the bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation that provoked his wrath.
30 For the people of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord; they have set their abominations in the house that is called by my name, defiling it.

In a review of "Of Human Interest" by Lewis Green at, T. Patrick Killough writes,
"In an appreciation of Green the novelist by Dr. Donald Secrest (reproduced pp. 227 - 235), Lewis Green is affectionately denoted as 'A Sainted Crazy.' Green does not so much plot his stories as bait traps for the unsuspecting reader. In other words, things are never as simple as they first seem. Green is seen as 'practicing to become a prophet,' deeply spiritual in a tradition no flatlander can ever grasp. But then, 'A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?'"

Those pesky prophets, they are always at odds with the high priests. Mr. Lewis Green seems like he was a crusty curmudgeon who poked at the weak spot of the priestly class and got kicked out of the church. Or maybe it was because he had renamed the church "All Souls Lesbyterian." You may be thinking, "Well he asked for it." Was his offense any more offensive than what the good rev. may have done to him? (ie moving on with the GLBT agenda) After all, to Mr. Lewis Green, the Rev. Donatelli may have been the one profaning the sacraments. And what would Mr. Green have done or said if he were around on March 15, 2009 when Bishop Gene Robinson spoke at All Souls?

Good thing he didn't live to hear that one. In fact, I have heard from a reputable source in Asheville that since Mr. Green,
"...died about a year ago. I have since met a few people from All Souls who greatly rejoiced to know him gone. Much, perhaps, as some Athenians did when Socrates took the helmlock."
Kinda makes me glad I don't go to that "inclusive" church.

Addendum: I came across this detailed description of how that church went downhill from an ex-member.

Excommunication is rare in the Episcopal Church, and a good thing too, because when it is applied it may be misapplied as in the case of Beverly Moore of Charleston back in 2001. Beverly Moore's crime? "Destroying the Church" by calling out a sexual predator in their midst.

Seems to me that not just us pewsters but certain priests might be guilty of the same accusation, "destroying the Church," but the wayward priest is given speaking engagements and a Bishopric instead of being excommunicated. Is there no justice? On second thought, justice may still be seen as having been served because the Bishop job might be a punishment greater than excommunication.


  1. Amazing story. My wife and I have sat in the Starbucks across the street from All Souls and admired what a lovely building it is. Facade.

    I had a lot of kin just like Mr. Green.

  2. Mother Angelica's comment provides hope for us.

  3. Anonymous3:02 PM

    It makes me wonder, however, if there isn't more to the story. If a church has to resort to promises of legal action then maybe Mr. Green's relationship with All Souls is more troubled than we can discern from your posting. I have to take the middle road here until I know more details.


  4. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Green's misconduct at All Souls was a whole lot more than just flipping off the priest, Fr. Donatelli. He wore gloves and made raucous scenes at communion, wrote slanderous homophobic invective in his publications about the church and its gay members, and one dear old lady who worked in the rectory told me one day that a visitor sat down in a pew on Sunday morning, when Green walked up and requested her to move because "that is my seat."

    I knew Lewis since the sixties, and he was always outspoken from the far right... and sometimes his mouth got him into trouble. I am not religious but if I had anything to do with it, I would have "churched" him too. In fact the leadership of All Souls was more patient with him and more resilient than I would have been.