Tuesday , 20 August 2019

Vatican sacks priest who came out as gay and plead for LGBTI acceptance

Krzysztof Charamsa
Krzysztof Charamsa

The Vatican fired today a monsignor who came out as gay and demanded more acceptance and change regarding LGBTI issues from the Catholic Church.

The polish priest working at the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has come out and and issued a manifesto demanding changes to Church teaching, which he said are anti-LGBTI and discriminatory.

The priest, Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa, is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University and has been on the Vatican’s International Theological Commission since 2009.

Charamsa made the interview on the eve of a big meeting of the world’s bishops, Synod, to discuss church outreach to LGBTI people, divorcees and more traditional Catholic families.

In a video released yesterday by Polish LGBT activists Artykuł osiemnasty, Msgr. Charamsa he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and was in love with a man whom he identified as his boyfriend, he also issued a ten point demands for the Church to reform prejudice and become more inclusive and respectful of diversity.

In an interview in Saturday’s Corriere Della Sera, timed to coincide with Sunday’s opening of the Synod, Monsignor Charamsa declared himself to be gay.

“I want the Church and my community to know who I am – a homosexual priest, happy and proud of his own identity.

“ I am ready to pay the consequences of this but the moment has come for the Church to open its eyes to gay believers and to understand that the solution which it offers to gays, namely total abstinence from a love life, is simply inhuman.”

He added: “It seems to me that, in the Church, we don’t know homosexuality because we don’t know homosexuals, yet we have them all over the place. With my story I want to shake the conscience of the Church a bit.”

“I will personally reveal my identity to the Holy Father with a letter. And I will inform the universities where I teach as to who I am. (I do this) with immense regret since I will probably no longer be allowed to teach in Catholic schools.”

In relation to the Synod, which was already certain to have had the Church’s pastoral approach to LGBTI rights on its agenda, Monsignor Charamsa said: “I would like to tell the Synod that homosexual love is a family love and one that needs the family. Every person, including gays, lesbians, trans desire love and a sense of family.”

When asked to his views on how the Catholic Church views same-sex desire as a “sin”, he said: “The bible never talks about homosexuality. Instead it talks about acts which I would call ‘homogenital’, acts which can be carried out by hetrosexual people, as happens often in prisons.

“In that case, these acts may be a moment of infidelity to one’s true nature and thus a sin. Those same acts carried out by homosexuals, however, express their true nature. The biblical sodomite has nothing to do with two gays today in Italy who love one another and want to get married.”

The priest said he was fully aware of the consequences that his coming out is likely to have, including his eventual laicisation, Monsignor Charamsa said he was not doing this so that he would be free to live with his partner: “I think that on these issues (homosexuality), the Church is way behind in relation to the level of understanding reached by humanity”.

The Vatican’s reaction to Monsignor Charamsa’s interview was immediate with senior spokesman Father Federico Lombardi calling him irresponsible for having made “such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the Synod” saying it would place the Synod under undue media pressure.

“Monsignor Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical universities, while the other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan Ordinary.”

Despite his dismissal, Charamsa remains a priest, although Lombardi hinted that his superiors could take further action.

He also issued a ten-point manifesto of demands to the Catholic Church regarding removal of anti-LGBTI discrimination, doctrines, and combating prejudice.

Watch the full interview (in Polish) with English subtitles here:

About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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