More Details Emerge About Gay Priest Dismissed from Vatican After Coming Out
A few more details and commentaries have emerged about the gay priest serving at the Vatican priest who came out this past weekend
Monsignor Krzystof Charamsa announced he was gay and partnered last week just days before the Synod of Bishops kicked off in Rome, reported Crux. The news report quoted another news story in the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, in which the priest provided some background for his decision:
“[He] was motivated to make his sexual orientation public by hate mail that he received after publicly criticizing a right-wing Polish priest who is strongly anti-gay in the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny.
The 43-year old priest said he hoped to be “a Christian voice” influencing the Synod on Marriage and Family [which began yesterday] as it discusses LGBT pastoral care among other topics related to family life.
Charamsa, a theologian for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assistant to the International Theological Commission, and professor at several pontifical universities in Rome, initially came out in interviews published in Italy and Poland. Crux quoted his message to the LGBT community in his coming out announcement
” ‘Do not apologize for what you are,’ he said in comments meant for the LGBT community, ‘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.’ “
The priest, who has not been laicized although this decision remains in his bishop’s hands, said the decision to come out was “a very personal, difficult, and tough” one because the Catholic Church is homophobic. For this reason, he also said LGBT Catholics should fight for their “dignity and right to happiness” when the Church persecutes them.
Charasma’s announcement led to his immediate dismissal from both the CDF and university faculties.The priest acknowledged these potential sanctions in the Irish Times, but was clear he could not remain silent:
” ‘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’ . . .
“Monsignor Charamsa said on Saturday there was a day when ‘something breaks inside you’, adding that God guided him to this decision, ‘which should be the most simple for any homosexual’.
“He said: ‘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.’ “
Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi called the priest’s actions “very serious and irresponsible” because they made a “pointed statement” as the Synod was beginning, reported Vatican Radio. Others, however, have welcomed Monsignor Charasma’s integrity and openness precisely because it shakes the church’s conscience while criticizing the Vatican’s expulsion.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, told The Independent:
“Charamsa now joins the long list of people fired from jobs in Catholic institutions because of LGBT issues. It is unfortunate that Church leaders did not see this as an opportunity for further dialogue with someone they have known and trusted.”
You can read New Ways Ministry’s full statement applauding Charamsa’s courage and honesty here.
Michael Bayly, who blogs at The Wild Reed, commented on Charamsa’s firing:
“I remind myself that expulsion is often the cost of true discipleship.”
Before Charasma’s announcement theologian Mary Hunt penned an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun noting that a large number of closeted gay men are involved in church decisions which harm LGBT people:
“Finally, it is time to end the gay charade in the Roman Catholic Church. The sea of men in every church and papal meeting during the U.S. visit underscored a homosocial power structure. It is an open secret that a high percentage of clergy and religious leaders are same-sex loving people, whether sexually active or not. For those same men to collude in anti-LGBTIQ efforts, including legislation and theology, is morally repugnant.”
Monsignor Charamsa’s coming out and dismissal come in a charged week for LGBT Catholics news, as reports surfaced about Pope Francis’ encounter with Kim Davis and a same-sex couple. Even with those items swirling, the gay priest’s announcement cut through and made headlines — a testament, I think, to the power that such a revelation has to move people and potentially effect change in the church.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry
He was fired not because of his orientation, but because of presenting his partner, therefore breaking vows of celibate. Moreover, his credibility is questionable – he planned the media action long before the publication in Tygodnik Powszechny (the article was very good). I had thought his words would he heard, but the style he presented his opinion should, according to me, be seen negatively, and people will wonder what he really wanted to achieve.
I remember a reference here at Bondings 2.0, some time within the past year, to a “high Vatican official” who would appear in secular clothes, partying and bar-hopping at night with his boyfriend — and then, mirabile dictu, would appear the very next morning in his priestly garb, to deliver an official press briefing or news commentary! It looks like the “culprit” has now been outed. Seriously, folks: our ecclesiastical cousins — the Anglicans and Episcopalians — have been dragged kicking and screaming, but have been dragged nonetheless, into honoring the moral and legal validity of faithfully-bonded same-sex relationships. Why, oh why, is it so damned difficult for the Catholic hierarchy to get a grip on this basic fact of human life? Sexual orientation is just as inherent as one’s eye color, skin color or dominant-handedness. It is NOT a moral issue, and it does NOT constitute a physical or social disability. Pope Francis seems to be “toying” with just such an acknowledgement — but he won’t take the leap of faith and repair the Church’s badly broken and discredited theological position on this crucial issue.
Being gay is only a moral issue as far as how you live your life is concerned. it should be treated as straight sexuality. no sex before marriage. being faithful and monogamous to your partner. no extra marital sex. no porn.
I have to agree with the previous poster who noted that the reason for the “firing” of this priest was not his sexual orientation, but the fact that he has a partner and been in a significant relationship for a number of years. Like it or not, celibacy is still the rule (for the most part) for Roman Catholic priests. If a straight priest had publicized the fact of his on-going relationship with a woman, he too would have had consequences to pay. His action conflates two very important — but fundamentally distinct — issues within the Church: (1) the Church’s understanding of gay/lesbian people and their roles in the Church; and (2) the rule of mandatory celibacy.
It’s NOT the rule for all Roman Catholic clergy. Those clergy received into Catholic communion from other traditions have NOT been required to be celibate. The practice is discriminatory. In the Eastern Catholic tradition, there is a married clergy. The rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Presov, Slovakia is a married man. And Pope Francis lifted the restriction of that discipline for the Eastern Catholic churches in US, Canada and Australia. And Rodrigo Borgia was not the first pope to father children or have lovers. I love the quote from the MEMOIRS OF A RENAISSANCE POPE, Pius II, “That the pope is a father, we know. That he is holy, we’ll have to wait and see.” God has joined together sexuality and spirituality. What God has joined together, MAN has separated, and we are ALL paying the price.
Not sure if your reply was intended as a “correction” to my post, but that’s why I wrote, parenthetically, “(for the most part).” The rule of celibacy is, indeed, applied discriminately, but as a “rule” with little theological basis, it can easily be changed.
How can we support him? I proposed to David and Jonathan to invite him to come to France to speak and meet people.
I understand his actions on an objective level – honest, bold, wholeness, prophetic. I agree with the ‘rightness’ of having a partner with whom he can share his life. BUT….the church is not even ready for a heterosexual priest having a partner. If the Church survives, both will be accepted some day.
People tried to get Jesus to shut up and Paul, too, but they kept speaking. When John the Baptist was imprisoned and eventually REMOVED and Jesus began to “come out” more, people wondered who he was and some thought he was the Baptist redivivus! I see Charamsa as John McNeill’s successor, redivivus, and so soon after McNeill ascended into heaven. I think the monsignor’s coming out is quite timely. Before the bishops in the Synod tell the rest of the world’s families how to “clean their houses” they should pay attention to what is in what THEY claim is their own house. The church is a MODERN FAMILY. Sunday’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews reminded us: that “the sanctifier and the sanctified all have the same origin.” Or as the translation used in Catholic churches that use English in the USA says “He who consecrates and those who are consecrated all have one origin.” I presume the “one origin” means GOD. So it’s wonderful that a member of CDF is brave enough to announce that message to the supposed successors of The Apostles. Paul tells us in Galatians that he stood up to Peter in Antioch about the gentile situation in the early church. LGBTQI persons are the contemporary Gentiles whom God has also called from time immemorial to be members of his BODY, and EVERY family, though some are still in the family closets along with who knows how many family skeletons. Praised be Jesus who came for the LIFE OF THE WORLD, everybody’s life in the WHOLE WORLD. THANK YOU, JESUS!! And may your Spirit continue to inspire Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, and protect him especially from the “Sanhedrin” of the Catholic church. My cousins in and from Poland are praising him and grateful for his honesty. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus, Na wieki!!
And as far as the partner goes, in 1 Corinthians 9:5 Paul claims that he and Barnabas have the right to take a believing wife along with them as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? (Peter). Well, Paul does claim not to have been married to a woman and he worked with Barnabas and other men. So what’s the problem with being partnered with a believer. Thank you, Paul, too!
Sorry for the misspelling. It’s CHAREMSA!
A very courageous and necessary decision for him. When will the church come to its senses?
Thank God for such bravery inside the Church. It is astonishing that with so many gays in the Church’s hierarchy, there can be so much homophobia prevalent. We must remember that until gays came out in the world and made themselves known to their families, friends, and the world in general, it was not possible to make the kind of change for gay people that has occurred and is occurring throughout the world. It’s still very difficult to be a Catholic and gay, but I am ever hopeful that this too shall eventually change.
The Church needs priests AND LAY PEOPLE who are willing to BE AUTHENTIC AND SPEAK THEIR TRUTH. AND ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES!!! If this happened hundreds of years ago we would have a very different Church now. One more loving and passionate about BEING CHRISTLIKE And not PERMEATED WITH a culture of hypocrites and legal beagles.
It is not good for man to be alone. Right from the beginning of the world. And then Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
O Lord, save us from your believers!!!
I am once again disappointed here, in the entire article there is only one passing mention of his relationship, which is the real cause of his dismissal from his work at the CDF. This is the second article published on this blog and in neither is the real issue directly addressed. It wasn’t simply because he said he was gay. He broke his freely chosen promises before God and the Church and entered into a relationship. He would have been dismissed if he were in a relationship with a man or woman. He is not a martyr to the cause or someone to be celebrated. Courage and honor would have been being honest with himself, God, and the Church, and seeking out laicization before he began a serious relationship. At least then he would have had a moral leg to stand on. And that is true for anyone gay or straight. The argument that celibacy shouldn’t be required, is not an excuse for a morally relativistic stance or an anything goes attitude. Nor should the celibacy issue even enter into the equation here. This is not about celibacy in the Church it is about one person breaking the promises he made to God and to US as the Church. No one is forced into the priesthood. It is a calling and a choice. A choice made by the priest to live their life as a priest, encompassing all the promises they make. Monsignor Charamsa of his own free will chose to be ordained and live as a priest and that includes at least two promises of celibacy. At anytime before his ordination to the deaconate or priesthood he was free to leave. Even after ordination he was free to leave. We as LGBTQ Catholics, are still Catholic, and as far as I know, we still believe adultery to be a sin, we still believe that promises and vows should be respected and honored. If we don’t then what are we fighting for equality for? Who needs marriage, promises, or vows, when they don’t actually mean anything. Gay priests out there who everyday live out their vows don’t want to be compared to either this monsignor or any other priest, gay or straight, who can not keep their ordination promises. And not only does it hurt to see this Monsignor lauded by New Ways but it also will cause a hesitation or denial of any association or support to this ministry. As a Catholic, I would not want a gay or straight priest who is dishonest, who sneaks around breaking the word he gave to God and the Church. How am I supposed to trust a priest like that? If he doesn’t take that promise seriously, what else does he not believe in? Is he going out with his boyfriend or girlfriend and saying “hey guess what, I heard ‘John’s’ confession today and this is what he is doing…” Now, one could argue that that’s ridiculous the two aren’t related, but they are. How am I supposed to believe someone who is not faithful to what God called them to? What other aspects of the priesthood is he picking and choosing to follow? If he had come out and said all this before he entered into the relationship and decided to leave the priesthood to be with his boyfriend I would support him wholeheartedly. If I could, I’d buy him and his boyfriend dinner and say “how can I help continue your work.” At the very least, I’d buy a copy of his upcoming book, even though I speak neither polish or Italian. But, breaking the multiple vows he made, sneaking around, and deciding to wait to announce at this moment right before the synod, which will only put hard liners in crash mode, and the publication of his book which I feel is doubly fishy. Is both disingenuous and actually hurts the cause of LGBTQ Catholics. To paraphrase “thom” on the other comments section, all this does is bolster the perception that gay priests can’t be faithful. Why do we as a community feel the need to unreservedly support anyone simply because they share our sexual orientation? Why can we not be honest and instead of saying that he is a hero and courageous; simply say: “As Catholics who take the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders seriously, who believe with the Church that these vows and promises carry great weight, are a means of grace, and should not be violated, which is why we seek marriage equality, disagree with the actions of Monsignor Charamsa. However, as we are called to be a people of compassion and mercy, we realize that human beings are frail, after all, we are all sinners. And while we disagree with the choice that Monsignor Charamsa made in being unfaithful to his priestly promises and understand that he will have to answer for those choices. We nonetheless agree that the points he brings up are both poignant and speak to the situation that we as LGBTQ Catholics face in the Church today. If he has not done so, we pray that Monsignor Charamsa will seek the Lord’s mercy in the Sacrament of Penance for his public betrayal of his priestly promises and the trust that we as the Church have put in him to live out those promises. And knowing and believing in the Lord’s mercy and love should Monsignor Charamsa choose to remain a priest or choose to leave the priesthood to be with and marry his long time boyfriend he has our support. And if he chooses to be with his boyfriend then we pray that someday soon they will be able to marry in the Church.” But, we can’t say that can we? Because it doesn’t’ fit into a click bait headline.
Let the one without sin or hypocrisy throw the first stone. Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Even Jesus knew better.
To be honest I am not sure what you are really trying to say here. Are you disagreeing that we can’t affirm comments while at the same time express disappointment in the public moral failing of an ordained member of the clergy and hope for his reconciliation? A person whom biblically we are to hold to a higher standard because of their position in the Church.(1 Timothy 5:19-21) Because, I don’t understand your response. Cherry picking and proof texting certain verses out of context is not what we are called to do. In fact, it’s what has been done to LGBTQ people for way too long. It doesn’t benefit us to take a page from the handbook of those with whom we disagree. Us throwing out the “don’t judge” verse or the “without sin” verse out of context, is the same thing, albeit in defense instead of offense, of simply throwing out one verse of Leviticus out of context in regards to LGBTQ people. In this constant back and forth that we are locked into someone should finally take the moral and intellectual high ground, and it should be US. It should be you and I as members of the LGBTQ Catholic community. I won’t go into a long exegesis about that particular verse, but remember that was a trap for Jesus, the man was not brought before him, the law was not being followed, Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees not making a blanket statement, and Jesus never meant that we can not express disappointment or help someone who’s life has fallen into sin or in the case of Msgr. Charamsa, made one’s own wrong doing public. Nor can we give up hope for their reconciliation with God. If it did, Jesus himself would have been wrong when in Matthew he taught, that when sin appeared in a community the way to address it was to: “go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” Monsignor Charamsa chose to make his wrong doing public, once again the breaking of his freely chosen multiple vows of celibacy. That verse that you point to along with the one about not judging someone, is so wrongly used in our society and our community. That verse does not say that we as people cannot state that an act is objectively wrong or sinful, nor does it mean we can’t help someone by pointing out to them that what they are doing is wrong. If that were the case, then parents would be in a lot of trouble for correcting their children when they steal or lie. We ourselves would be in a lot of trouble when we point out homophobia, exclusion, or emotional abuse of LGBTQ people to those in and out of the Church, and pray for their conversion. Carried to its logical conclusion, no one could ever tell anyone that anything is sinful or wrong, including adultery or murder or etc. We can not call out the sins and wrongdoings of those who deny us our rights and not mention, correct, or even acknowledge the problems that publicly exist in our own community. That is true hypocrisy. Remember that “admonishing the sinner” is a spiritual work of mercy. The point is that we are not to condemn anyone, we are never to condemn anyone,and that is not what I did above or what I advocate. We can not and can never say you broke your vows, you are going to Hell. But we can say you broke your vow, and we pray that you will repent and go to confession. We pray that God will bless you as you live out your vow or seek laicization and marry your boyfriend. As James says, and this is used in the proper context, “let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” As a Catholic community we are called to do this. We are called to do this because we ARE our brothers or sisters keeper. God bless.
Holy Orders and celibacy are not bound together. The early church knew no such connection and the Council Fathers of Nicaea, some of whom were monks, said NO to such a requirement and the Eastern Churches still allow it.
Anton, No one is arguing that fact. I never said that they HAD to be bound together. But, in the Latin Church they currently ARE bound together. Now, we can hope that the discipline of mandatory celibacy will eventually change and like the East go to an optional promise of celibacy. But ultimately in this current case that we are discussing that doesn’t matter. Like I’ve said, this issue is not about the rule of celibacy. It is about a priest breaking the promises he swore before God and the Church. Just because the Church used to allow married clergy, and the East still allows married clergy, does not mean that their celibate clergy were/are allowed to find a partner and be married after ordination. Once ordained, the priest was/is not allowed to give up his celibacy vow and be married. Before even actually making the promise of celibacy the soon to be transitional deacon/priest writes in his own had to his bishop that he “testify and affirm that I seek ordination freely and of my own accord. I am impelled by no sort of
compulsion, force or fear to receive this sacred order. I voluntarily desire it and of my own free will wish to be ordained to the Diaconate (Priesthood). I have carefully considered this matter before God and believe that I am truly called by God to receive this sacred order. I am fully aware of all the obligations attached to this order. I freely assume them and intend, with God’s grace, to fulfill them throughout my life. I declare especially that I am clearly aware of what the law of celibacy entails. I firmly resolve
with the help of God to fulfill that law willingly and to keep it in its entirety until the end of my life.
I testify and affirm that I will devote myself permanently to the ecclesiastical ministry.” To argue that it is ok for a priest to secretly live a double life, violating the promises he made is akin to saying that if we were married and I had a secondary family you should be cool with it because polygamy used to be allowed. Once again, we still believe with the Church that celibacy are marriage are linked, we still believe adultery is a sin, we still believe that both Ordination and Marriage promises and vows should be respected, honored, and lived out. If we don’t then what are we fighting for Marriage equality for? Who needs marriage, promises, or vows, when they don’t actually mean anything. Peace and God Bless.
I agree with your arguments about breaking vows being an issue here.
But the situation is not really analogous to a straight priest who becomes involved with a woman. This straight priest knows his alternatives to the priesthood. He knew that he was giving up marriage when he took the vow of celibacy. Until very recently–and in many circles, not even yet–the gay man has no alternative to celibacy. His only choice was lay or clerical celibacy. Is it surprising that he might choose the latter. Now that publically committed gay relations are possible (and weren’t, as a practical matter when he took his vows) I think this brings in the question of how “voluntary” his vow was–compared to that of a straight priest.
As far as I can tell, it’s not his being gay that got him fired, nor is it his breaking his promise of celibacy. It’s his being open about being gay and partnered and criticizing the magisterial stance. Had he remained closeted, no problem to be out and about as a partnered gay man. Heck, strongly criticizing the teaching might have been enough to get him fired, boyfriend notwithstanding.
The vow of celibacy today is as unrealistic as making a vow that you will not eat! I speak as a gay man who at age 18 went to seminary and after two years realized that I could not honor such a vow, so I left and joined the Navy for four years. You may call this honor but I think it was God getting me out of a dis functional setting. Back in 1968, I didn’t really know what my feelings were. Jakub states that Father Krzystof is dishonest and betraying the church -WRONG he is standing out loud and clear that the Church needs to get its act together and starry being the lovely mother she is supposed to be. Father realized this change must come from within and what better way to try and get the ball rolling. As for me, 40 years later God directed me to a different part of the Catholic Church and that is the Old Catholic Church where all types of discrimination is not tolerated. .I guess you might say thatI was really in training for 40 years before I was ordained to the priesthood. Get off your horse Mr Jakub and face the reality of life and its journey! Peace & Love in Christ and St Benedict. .
Heartily agree. St. Paul couldn’t accept Jews becoming Christians till he got knocked on his bottom. I don’t think/believe he owned a horse. And then he fought for gentiles to be admitted without waiting for consensus of the original disciples and even took Peter to task for wavering … which, according to accounts, was a hallmark trait of his. In 1 Corinthinas 9:3-6 Paul also fights for his upkeep and says he has a right to take a wife along with him as do the others, including Cephas, though he brags elsewhere he never married. Yet he went around with Barnabas and other guys. And even Jesus sent the guys out two-by-two. The church was afraid of sexuality and followed the lead of guys like Augustine who sowed their oats and then told others they can’t. Why not listen to witnesses who can integrate their sexuality with their spirituality as God intended from the beginning? Even the rabbis say: Scripture is Holy but the Song of Songs (attributed to Solomon), is the HOLY OF HOLIES. Solomon really DID know. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. How’s THAT for “biblical marriage?”
Beautifully stated. My sentiments exactly. It may have taken 40 years but know Fr. Bernie you are where you were meant to be. God bless you!
I don’t think we can count this as a win. Recall what happened in Miami with Father Alberto Cutié. Charamsa was fired because he publicly broke his vow of celibacy — what did he possibly think would happen? I don’t think he advanced the cause. Further, I’d expect that he will be laicized for this very public display.