Italian Priest Suspended from Ministry Over His Support for LGBTQ+ Relationships

Fr. Giulio Mignani

A Catholic priest in Italy was recently suspended from pastoral ministry due to his support for LGBTQ+ couples.

According to Religion News Service, Fr. Giulio Mignani is currently banned from celebrating Mass and the sacraments after being accused of “holding positions that are not aligned with Church teaching” for his advocacy of acceptance of LGBTQ+ relationships in the church. Mignani, whose parish is in the small southern Italian town of Bonassola, stated:

“‘The Church doesn’t condemn homosexuality but homosexual relations. Which is like saying that it’s ok to be hungry, but you can’t eat.’

“‘I mean it’s a paradigm that must be changed. Homosexual love is still considered a sin, a mistake, when it’s a fundamental aspect in the life of these people.'”

This time is not the first that Mignani has outwardly supported the LGBTQ+ community. In 2021, Mignani was reprimanded for his pro-LGBTQ+ stance by Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato after he refused to bless palms on Palm Sunday. Not blessing the palms was an act of protest against the Vatican’s ban on blessing same-gender couples issued that year. In addition, Mignani has spoken out in favor of abortion rights and assisted dying, which also contradict church teaching.

Although Mignani will enter a period of mandated reflection, which was ordered by his bishop, he does not believe his pro-LGBTQ+ stance will change. He hopes to continue being a priest after his suspension is over. He explained:

“‘I said to myself: we have blessed anything, including weapons and wars in the past. And we don’t want to bless real love?’

“‘But most people don’t say it, because if they spoke up, they would be suspended like me. But sometimes you have to take a stand in front of everyone, to give a new direction.'”

Mignani’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community is courageous and  admirable. His ability to stand firm to his values, even with his job in jeopardy, is a powerful example of conscience and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Hopefully Mignani’s actions inspire other faith leaders to protect the LGBTQ+ community in whatever bold ways they feel called to do.

Sarah Cassidy (she/her), New Ways Ministry, October 19, 2022

10 replies
  1. Raph Martin
    Raph Martin says:

    If God has created all men and women in his image…and lovingly called them “very good,” who is any clergyman to say that God prefers only love expressions that are heterosexual rather than homosexual? It’s this narrow view of God that causes rifts in the church and families. If God is freedom personified, then why should human freedom be restricted to laws made by powerful ecclesiastics and based on understandings of relationships that were in vogue almost 4000 years ago? Time for people to fast forward to the 21st century and the insights it brings regarding human love and autonomy.

    Reply
  2. Alexei
    Alexei says:

    Bravo, Fr. Mignani,
    Yes, we bless war and destruction, human creations, but refuse a blessing to lovers, God’s creation. I like that allusion to hunger and eating. My metaphor is: OK, I recognize you’re a dog, but you’re not allowed to bark. Thank GOD that Jesus was not afraid of patients, prostitutes and publicans – or even pharisees. May he have mercy on priests, prelates and popes. “Learn of me,” Jesus requested, “for I am meek and humble of heart”.

    Reply
  3. jack wall
    jack wall says:

    Fr. Magnini is so right and he needs as much support as we can give him. I love his comment “we have blessed anything, including weapons and wars in the past. And we don’t want to bless real love?”

    Reply
  4. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    “According to Religion News Service, Fr. Giulio Mignani is currently banned from celebrating Mass and the sacraments after being accused of ‘holding positions that are not aligned with Church teaching’”

    What is Church teaching? Is it the teaching of Pope Francis, who keeps giving mixed messages? Is it the teaching of Archbishop Cordileone (the father of the fight against marriage equality in CA), or the teaching of Bishop Paprocki who considered marriage equality so demonic that he held an exorcism in his cathedral? Is it the lives of loving same gender couples?

    Does the belief of one man (a pope or bishop), or the beliefs of a small group of men (RC bishops) outweigh real people, real lives, scientific information, and the words of Scripture that those who abide in love abide in God and God in them?

    I applaud Fr. Giulio Mignani who speaks the truths of real people to the men in power who use their beliefs to marginalize and oppress Queer people, while asserting that their “just discrimination” is really a form of great love for the people they oppress. My hope is that the Synodal Way will break through the clouds of ignorance.

    Reply
  5. Greg
    Greg says:

    Prophetic voices have spoken truth and usually pay the price. Consider the two Republicans on the House Committee investigating the January 6 violence. Their witness and subsequent reaction continues the enduring sad saga when woodenheadess persists.
    Read Barbara Tuchman : THE MARCH OF FOLLY.

    Reply
  6. Duane Sherry
    Duane Sherry says:

    “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”

    “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”

    “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”

    – Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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  7. Peggy Doyle
    Peggy Doyle says:

    I appreciated reading this piece on Fr. Magnini and I appreciate his holding firmly to his beliefs. I admire him.
    I don’t, however, appreciate the writer’s description of Father’s ordination to priesthood and ministry as his “job.” The word choice is insensitive, thoughtless, and perhaps crass. Did the column pass an editor’s desk?

    Reply
  8. Loras Michel
    Loras Michel says:

    Gosh — reading about Fr. Mignani’s courage really makes my heart leap with joy and brings peace to my heart. That test of heart and soul I like to use often, and I have discovered at least in my own life that it is never wrong. Fr. Mignani’s love for all of God’s creation includes LGBTQ+ couples. What can possibly be excluded from God’s love and by our birthright, our love. His values are the Creator’s values. Such radiant inclusive love reminds me of water which always finds a way to penetrate even the most difficult
    surfaces, or a beautiful plant which will find its way through cement to blossom. Their innate essence always finds a way.

    Imagine if Jesus were a wandering priest today. In some dioceses he would be welcomed as a loving Brother but in other dioceses would be banned from celebrating Mass and the Sacraments. He even would be put to death in certain countries where Bishops and Government align against truth. I guess things have not really changed that much. Does anyone really believe that putting a muzzle on any priest today for telling it like it really is, will serve as an incentive for other men considering the priesthood? To bring suffering to one person or group of people brings suffering to the whole. Sorry, but Fr. has been detained and thus no priest available. I admire Fr. Mignani for his courage and especially for being authentically real no matter what the costs. In another way of expressing all this, I can see why the Church might eagerly want to bless our adorable talking pet parrot — it would make an ideal candidate for religious life once trained and offered rewards for staying on script. Yet, it’s even more refreshing to find men who are of deeper substance.

    Reply

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