American clergyman Malcolm Broussard has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham announced the automatic excommunication yesterday. The official decree had the authority of the Pope, he said.
Broussard, who was ordained a Catholic priest in his home state of Texas, is a follower of William Kamm's Nowra-based Little Pebble sect, known as the Order of St Charbel.
He recently announced his elevation to the rank of bishop on the order's official web site, on a link titled Bishop's Home Page.
The bogus bishop conducts regular church services and administers the sacraments such as baptisms, communion, confirmation and confession at the cult's Cambewarra headquarters, north of Nowra.
In June last year Bishop Ingham outlawed Kamm after a canonical investigation rejected his claims of alleged supernatural visions and repudiated his false teachings.
Kamm is due back in court in August to face a number of sexual assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
In an decree dated yesterday, Bishop Ingham said it had come to his notice that on March 30 in Bavaria, Germany, Fr Malcolm Broussard had attempted to have himself consecrated a bishop.
The purported ordination was schismatic and not recognised by the Catholic Church, Bishop Ingham said.
The church's penalty for a person ordained a bishop without a mandate from the Pope was "ipso facto excommunication" that only the Holy See in Rome could lift.
By his actions, Broussard had excommunicated himself, the bishop said. The unnamed person who ordained Broussard was also excommunicated "if not already excommunicated by virtue of his purported ordination as a bishop in 1999".
Broussard had no faculties to administer the sacraments in the diocese of Wollongong, or anywhere else in Australia or his own diocese of Texas.
Followers who deliberately and knowingly remained with Broussard in schism were also excommunicated and as a result placed themselves outside the Catholic Church.
His concern was to heal the breach within the Church and to protect people of good faith who have been caught up in the sect.
"My hope is that Fr Broussard, William Kamm and his followers in the so-called Order of St Charbel will see the error of their ways and come back into communion with the Church," he said.