Fr. Jeremy Leatherby has placed himself and others in a state of schism with the Roman Catholic Church. By his words and actions, Fr. Leatherby has incurred a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication. This means that by his own volition he has separated himself from communion with the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, and other members of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Leatherby has violated my instructions by offering Mass and teaching publicly to a number of the faithful. He has instructed them against the legitimacy of His Holiness, Pope Francis. He has substituted the Holy Father’s name with the name of his predecessor, and omitted my name during the recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer while offering Mass. After obstinately not responding to a number of my inquiries by telephone and correspondence, he has now confirmed his schismatic stance. Because of the grave scandal of these actions I have no recourse but to announce publicly the consequence of his decisions: He has brought upon himself an automatic latae sententiae excommunication.

Prior to these lamentable events, there has been an on-going canonical process concerning other alleged behaviors by Fr. Jeremy Leatherby in violation of priestly promises. This process admittedly has been long, is still continuing, and is in the hands of other ecclesiastical authorities. The events by which he has excommunicated himself are unrelated to these previous allegations and the ensuing investigation. These are two separate issues.

Both clergy and faithful are instructed to refrain from any further attempt by Fr. Leatherby to offer the Mass or other sacraments. Join me in praying for his reconciliation and return to full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

The above comes from an Aug. 7 letter from Bishop Soto of the Sacramento diocese.