The Vatican on Saturday fired a mid-level official in its doctrine office who came out as gay on the eve of a major meeting (synod) of bishops from around the world to discuss family issues including outreach to “gays, divorcees, and more traditional Catholic families.”
Via newspaper interviews in Poland and Italy, Krzysztof Charamsa, 43, talked openly about what it’s like being a gay priest, indicating he has found personal reconciliation between his identity as a gay man and his church’s teachings, and that he has a boyfriend.
Charamsa first planned to hold a news conference at the Vatican, with his boyfriend, Edouard, but relocated it to Rome following his termination.
“The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.
“I have to say who I am. I am a gay priest. I am a happy and proud gay priest,” Charamsa told the Polish Gazeta Wyborcza.
For the time being, he remains a priest despite his firing. Lombardi hinted that could change if Charamsa’s superiors decide to take further action, which wouldn’t be surprising since Charamsa also broke the vow of celibacy every Roman Catholic priest must take.
“I came out. This is a very personal, difficult, and tough decision in the Catholic Church’s homophobic world,” Charamsa added, along with this message for other gay Catholics:
“Do not apologize for what you are, because you’re full members of the community, and in the case of the baptized, of the Church. [You’re part of a] civilized community, and the Church doesn’t have the moral right to deny your right to love and get married.”
He also appealed to all gay Catholics “persecuted by the Church” to stand up “for their dignity and right to happiness.”
There were signs reported at last year’s synod of a more open stance on gay Catholics, and Pope Francis has “insisted the issue be included for future debate,” according to Crux.
The Church’s official teaching is that gay sex is “intrinsically immoral,” but the Vatican did note that the details of Charisma’s personal life “merit respect.”