Three Orkney hermits believe they are the first group to be excommunicated from the Catholic church since the reformation.
The “Black Hermits” who live on Westray have called the Pope a heretic.
They claimed they had no option but to withdraw obedience from the Pope and sever their communion with the Holy See.
A spokesman for the diocese of Argyll and the Isles said yesterday they were warned it would lead to excommunication and that the penalty “now applies.”
The trio had made an online declaration on their controversial blog that evil was “destroying” the church.
The website detailed their objections to the church’s stance on a range of issues including homosexuality.
Based on Westray, Father Stephen De Kerdrel calls himself a priest, Brother Damon Kelly a monk and lay woman Colette Roberts is a former senior doctor.
Father Stephen said: “I think we must be the first group to have been excommunicated for centuries. I think you would have to go back to the reformation.
“The Catholic church has always been very good on faith and morals, but it is the moral field the church has excelled in.
“With the arrival of Pope Francis in 2013, he has began to dismantle what we would describe as dogmatic church teaching, for example, that no-one goes to hell.
“He has persecuted traditionalist orders. He has changed the wording of Our Father.
“If you uphold any traditional values of the Catholic church, you get hammered.
“The situation is that, by all his heretical statements, he has become a false pope.
“He is utterly ambiguous, but he does appear to favour gay clergy. They seem to be easily rehabilitated.
“Our opinion is a heretic Pope ceases to be a Catholic, ergo he is no longer Pope.
“We just had to say, enough is enough. We don’t wish anyone any harm. It’s just you reach a crisis point when you can’t take it any longer.”
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles said: “In April, the group wrote to Bishop McGee to say they intended to withdraw their ‘obedience from Pope Francis and sever communion with the Holy See.’
“The bishop advised them that their actions would incur automatic excommunication and urged them to reconsider and made several offers of dialogue which were refused.
“As a result, the penalty of excommunication now applies.”
At the beginning of last year, Damon Kelly was convicted of sending homophobic abuse to an Episcopal clergyman.
Excommunication is the harshest penalty the church can apply.