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