Vat­i­can fury as priest comes out on eve of bish­ops meet


The Vat­i­can re­acted fu­ri­ously on Satur­day af­ter a priest em­ployed as a se­nior of­fi­cial pub­licly de­clared his ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity on the eve of a synod of bish­ops that is due to touch on the di­vi­sive is­sue of the Church’s re­la­tion­ship to gay be­liev­ers.

In a state­ment, a spokesman for Pope Fran­cis said Pol­ish priest Krzystof Charamsa’s ac­tion had been “very se­ri­ous and ir­re­spon­si­ble,” and that he would be au­to­mat­i­cally kicked out of his post as a the­olo­gian in the Vat­i­can.

Flanked by his Cata­lan boyfriend and sport­ing his priest’s col­lar, Charamsa told a news con­fer­ence in Rome he had been com­pelled to speak out against the hypocrisy and para­noia that he says shapes the Church’s at­ti­tude to sex­ual mi­nori­ties.

While ap­pear­ing re­signed to the fact that his life as a priest is over, he said: “I’m out of the closet and I’m very happy about that.”

Vis­i­bly moved at times but al­ways smil­ing, the 43-year-old added in Ital­ian: “I want to be an ad­vo­cate for all sex­ual mi­nori­ties and their fam­i­lies who have suf­fered in si­lence.”

In an in­di­ca­tion that Charamsa had planned the move for some time, he pre­sented a 10-point “lib­er­a­tion man­i­festo” against “in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized ho­mo­pho­bia in the Church,” which he said par­tic­u­larly op­pressed the gay men who, ac­cord­ing to him, make up the ma­jor­ity of priests.

He also re­vealed plans for a book about his 12 years at the heart of a Vat­i­can bu­reau­cracy only just re­cov­er­ing from a scan­dal un­der pre­vi­ous pope Bene­dict XVI over the in­flu­ence of a “gay lobby” among se­nior clergy.

“I ded­i­cate my com­ing out to all gay priests,” Charamsa said. “I wish them hap­pi­ness even if I know that most of them will not have the courage to make the ges­ture I have made to­day.”

“To my Church, I want to say that I re­ject and I de­nounce the cur­rent at­mos­phere of ex­as­per­at­ing ho­mo­pho­bia. Open your eyes to the suf­fer­ing of gay peo­ple, to their de­sire for love.”

Charamsa, 43, timed his an­nounce­ment for max­i­mum media im­pact, com­ing as it did on the eve of a synod that is the sec­ond and fi­nal round of a re­view of Catholic teach­ing on the fam­ily.

It was the tim­ing of Charamsa’s ac­tion rather than the sub­stance of what he said that in­fu­ri­ated his su­pe­ri­ors.

In its state­ment, the Vat­i­can said “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.”

“Msgr. Charamsa will cer­tainly be un­able to con­tinue to carry out his pre­vi­ous work in (Vat­i­can body) 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 (lo­cal bishop).”


Mon­signor Krzysztof Charamsa, left, and his part­ner Ed­uard, sur­name not given, leave a res­tau­rant in down­town Rome, Satur­day, Oct. 3.

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