Fired Gay Minister: “Archbishop has done us and all the church a great wrong.”

Barring LGBT Catholics from parish ministries is deeply wrong and personally wounding, wrote one gay man who had been forced from ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


William di Canzio

Last October, William di Canzio was dismissed as a lector at the Daylesford Abbey parish community in suburban Philadelphia where he has been active for 35 years.  The abbot said the decision was influenced by Archbishop Charles Chaput’s directive not to allow coupled gay men or lesbians to perform liturgical roles.

Di Canzio first broke his story on Bondings 2.0, and you can read the original report here. He has since written in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Abbot Richard Antonucci of Daylesford Abbey in Paoli requested a meeting with me, though he declined to tell me his purpose in advance. . .The abbot started our conversation by saying that he’d heard I had married my partner of 12 years, Jim Anderson. ‘I want you to believe this,’ he said: ‘I sincerely wish you both many, many years of happiness together.’

“Then he passed me a copy of a directive from Archbishop Charles Chaput. . .[and] said that, with reluctance, he must enforce the directive.”

Antonucci told di Canzio that, despite the abbey being a community that is formally outside archdiocesan control, the abbott was “unwilling to take the risk” of retaining an LGBT person in liturgical ministry. Di Canzio asked the abbot, “You’re the spiritual leader of the place I’ve been part of for 35 years. . .How do you counsel me?” The abbot’s only response was asking di Canzio to remain at Daylesford Abbey.

Di Canzio said of the Abbey, “I felt welcomed there and at home.” He described in his Inquirer essay the many ministries at the abbey in which he has participated for more than three decades: revising the hymnal and arranging a psalter, writing a three-year cycle of Sunday penitential rites for the Norbertine Order, lectoring, and helping with other aspects of liturgy. Di Canzio concluded:

“Forgive me if this sounds like a resume. Here’s my point: the archbishop knows none of this. The abbot himself, who came to Daylesford in 2000, did not know how very long had been my history there. Nor did he know that the man who is now my spouse decided to be confirmed a Catholic after attending Pentecost mass at Daylesford.”

Di Canzio said the archdiocesan directive itself is “very offensive,” especially its claim that same-gender couples are “a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community.” The directive continued to say such couples are “without undermining the faith of the community, most notably the children.” The former lector commented:

“The hypocrisy of the last phrase, concerning children, is so transparent it seems rhetorical suicide, because it calls to mind the sexual abuse of children by priests that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades.

“Here’s the truth: my sexual nature, like that of all human beings, is holy; my marriage is a sacrament where I encounter the love of God every day in the love of my spouse and bestow it likewise on him. The archbishop has done us and all the church a great wrong.”

A great wrong for sure, and Di Canzio’s story is not an isolated incident. More than 60 church workers and volunteers since 2007 have lost their position over an LGBT identity, same-gender marriage, or public support for equality.

For Bondings 2.0‘s full coverage of this story, and other LGBT-related church worker disputes, click the ‘Employment Issues‘ category to the right or here. You can click here to find a full listing of such church workers and volunteers, as well as other information and resources about the topic..

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, May 5, 2017

0 replies
  1. miriamtf
    miriamtf says:

    For what it’s worth, I was forbidden to participate in any public ministry at the parish, even in informal manners, due to my mildly transgender appearance. The pastor and deacon (supported by the deacon’s wife) declared from the pulpit that transgender appearing people are on the path to hell. The parish is highly conservative. There are a few parishioners that have been good to me. I’m attending Mass and confession elsewhere but haven’t settled in a parish home. The dean and bishop support the local pastor’s decisions. I haven’t attended a Knights of Columbus meeting since my legal name and gender changes but I plan to do it. I’m a 4th Degree Knight in the Honor Guard, cape, tuxedo, chapeaux, sword, and all. I’m willing to tuck my long hair when functioning in the honor guard.

  2. Kevin Welbes Godin
    Kevin Welbes Godin says:

    Selective inclusion. Yeah…just what Jesus would do, right? Once again, you’re welcome to the table, but you just can’t eat.

  3. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    It all just makes me sick. Even with this man’s extensive liturgical contributions and witness of faith this still happens. What is most discouraging is not Chaput who is acting according to his character, but the abbot who “didn’t want to take the risk,”. Sad, very sad.

  4. Bishop Carlos A Florido, osf
    Bishop Carlos A Florido, osf says:

    How about pedophile priests who allowed to celebrate the Eucharist? Chaput is living in the Dark Ages.

  5. Fathet Anthony Borka
    Fathet Anthony Borka says:

    The Socialmores and the Fear that motivated people in the past are going away except in certain communities. Christ emphasized love.He did not say whom to love or how to love.The more the Church discriminates,the less relevant it becomes.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *