ROME – As far as New Year’s festivities go, 2024 got off to an especially rocky start for a priest from the Italian diocese of Livorno, who received a decree of excommunication dated Jan. 1 less than 12 hours after delivering a homily describing the pontiff as “an anti-pope usurper” and a mason.

Father Ramon Guidetti, 48 and pastor of the Church of San Ranieri in Guasticce in Livorno since 2017, noted in his homily for the New Year’s vigil Mass that Dec. 31 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Pope Benedict XVI, who shocked the world when he resigned in 2013.

Referring to Pope Francis, Guidetti said, “There has been a schism for 10 years, there is a masonry that governs. The bishops and cardinals know that he is not the pope, they know but they are silent.”

Guidetti touted a widespread conspiracy theory following Benedict XVI’s resignation that when he stepped down, he renounced what canon law defines as the ministerium, but not the petrine munus, meaning he gave up acting as pope, but not being pope.

In his homily, Guidetti referred to a photograph taken of lightning striking behind the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica on the night Benedict’s Feb. 28, 2013, resignation took effect.

“The lightning struck the dome of Saint Peter’s on the night of Benedict’s strategic resignation, and then finally, on Dec. 17, in a shrine near Buenos Aires where the ‘Unnamable’ was archbishop, lightning struck the Statue of Saint Peter,” he said, referring to Pope Francis’s birthday.

“And what does it incinerate? Two things: the halo and the keys. Peter is no longer holy because he is a mason, a Jesuit mason tied to a group of globalists and an anti-pope usurper. He does not have the keys because good Benedict has the keys,” he said.

The following day, Bishop Simone Giusti of Livorno issued a decree announcing that Guidetti had been excommunicated for his remarks.

In the decree, dated Jan. 1, 2024, it was stated that Guidetti “during the Eucharistic celebration, publicly committed an act of a schismatic nature, refusing submission to the Supreme Pontiff and communion with the members of the church subject to him.”

By doing so, Guidetti “has ipso facto incurred latae sententiae excommunication,” the decree said, meaning the priest effectively excommunicated himself with the very act of slandering the pope.

According to the decree, published on the Diocese of Livorno’s website, Guidetti was suspended from ministry and ousted from his post as pastor of Saint Ranieri in Guidetti.

Believers were forbidden from participating in any of his liturgies or other acts of worship and were reminded that doing so “would ipso facto incur the very serious penalty of excommunication” for themselves as well.

After his excommunication, Guidetti was interviewed on Radio Domina Nostra by Alessandro Minutella, a former Catholic priest in Palermo who was also excommunicated in 2018 after having publicly attacked Pope Francis, and who was defrocked last year for his continued character assassination of Pope Francis.

Guidetti in the interview said he was “serene and calm” after his own excommunication but was also “surprised by the cutting of the umpteenth head.”

Jesting, he said he received the decree of excommunication Jan. 1, and that “It’s nice, it’s really nice. It’s written well, very precise.”

“In the decree there are specific citations of canon law, which appear as such when it is necessary to strike a priest who shouts the truth, but for defending the Throne of Peter, it doesn’t exist,” he said.

Guidetti referred to a band of red that runs along the top of the decree, saying red is “the color of martyrdom, of blood, of witness.”

“It is a beautiful picture; I’ll make a nice frame for it and hang it on the wall. It will be something I will gladly brag about,” he said, but admitted that he feels “a little bitterness for this blindness and harshness on the part of one who should be a mother, the church, which should be maternal, and who in reality is a tyrant.”

Delivered with impressive speed by Catholic standards, Guidetti’s excommunication is the latest in a crackdown of papal critics in recent months and is indicative of ongoing divisions in the church over Francis and his papacy.

Last year, Pope Francis ousted Archbishop Georg Gänswein, private secretary to the late Pope Benedict XVI and widely perceived as a papal opponent, from the Vatican, sending him back to his native Diocese of Freiburg with no official job or position.

Recently Francis met privately with Gänswein and consecrated lay women of Memores Domini who cared for the Benedict and his household prior to his passing, but without any indication of a new assignment for the German prelate.

In November, the pope made moves against two prominent American critics, removing Bishop Joseph Strickland from leadership of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, and stripping Cardinal Raymond Burke of his salary and ordering that he pay market rate rent on his Vatican-owned apartment, effectively evicting him.

According to local media reports, a paper notice was affixed to the doors of Guidetti’s former parish on Tuesday, listing new Mass times for the feast of the Epiphany on Saturday and the regular weekly liturgies on Sunday, along with an indication that a new pastor would be named soon.

Follow Elise Ann Allen on X: @eliseannallen