Vatican theologian declares he's gay and has a partner

The Vatican has denounced as “very serious and irresponsible” the decision by Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, an official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), to announce publicly, on the eve of the synod of bishops on the family, that he is homosexual and has a partner.  It said he can no longer work in that congregation, or teach theology in the Pontifical universities

Mgr. Charamsa, 43, a native of Gdynia, Poland, was a middle-ranking official at the CDF when he gave the interview.  He has been in Rome for 17 years, and taught theology at two pontifical universities in Rome:  the prestigious Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome and the Ataneo Regina Apostolorum’, run by the Legionaries of Christ.  He is also assistant-secretary of the International Theological Commission. 

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He declared his “coming out” in a front page interview with Corriere della Sera, a leading Italian daily, October 3.  Speaking frankly he said:  “I want the Church and my community to know who I am:  a homosexual priest, happy and proud of his own identity. 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 proposes to gays, namely total abstinence from a love life, is inhuman.”

 Within hours of the publication of the interview, the Director of Holy See’s Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi S.J., issued a strong statement saying that, “notwithstanding the respect due to events and personal situations, and reflections on the issue, 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.”

As a consequence of his declarations and interview, Lombardi said, “Mgr. Charasma will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in 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.”    

Asked why he came out now, Charasma responded, “A day comes when something breaks inside one, and one cannot take any more.  Alone, I would have got lost in the nightmare of my denied homosexuality, but God never leaves us alone. And I believe that He has now brought me to make this existential choice that is so strong. “

He acknowledged that his decision is also “strong in its consequences” but, he said, “it should be the most simple one for every homosexual, the premise to living coherently, because we are already late and it is not possible to wait another fifty years. So I tell my Church who I am.  I do it for myself, for my community, for the Church.  And it is also my duty in the face of the community of the sexual minorities.”

The Polish-born monsignor continued: “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, but we have never looked them in the eyes, because they rarely say who they are.”

Charasma, who has worked at the Vatican congregation for doctrine since 2003, explained that “with my story I want to shake the conscience of the Church a bit.”

“I will personally reveal my identity to the Holy Father with a letter. And I will inform the universities where I teach as to who I am”, he added.  He was doing all this “with immense regret since I will probably no longer be allowed to work in Catholic schools.”   Lombardi confirmed this in his statement.

Charamsa admitted that he had chosen his moment to come out:  on the eve of the synod. “I wish to tell the Synod that homosexual love is a family love, that it needs the family. Every person, including gays, lesbians, transsexuals, carry in their heart a desire for love and family (life).  Every person has a right to love and that love must be protected by society, and by laws.”

 “Above all – he stated - it must be cared for by the Church” since “Christianity is the religion of love: that is what characterizes Jesus whom we bring to the world”.  He emphasized that “a lesbian or homosexual couple should be able to say to their church, we love according to our nature and this good of our love we offer to others because it is a public, not private fact, and it is not an exasperated search for pleasure.”

When asked how he squares his views with current Catholic teaching,  Monsignor Charamsa acknowledged that while his “positions” are “not those of the current teaching of the Church” they “are present in theological research.”   In Christian theology, in particular, they are present in “a heavy way” and there are “excellent Catholic theologians that are producing important contributions on these aspects.”

When it was pointed out that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the basis of the biblical literature, defines homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered”, the Vatican monsignor reminded the interviewer that “the bible never talks about homosexuality. Instead it talks about acts that I would call ‘homogenitals’; acts which can be carried out by heterosexual people too, as happens in many prisons.” In the latter case, he said, “these acts may be a moment of infidelity to one’s true nature and thus a sin” but “those same acts carried out by homosexuals, express their true nature.”   Indeed, “the biblical sodomite has nothing to do with two gays that today, in Italy, love one another and want to get married.”

Charamsa went on to say that “he does not find even one page in the scripture, or in St. Paul, that can be referred to homosexual persons that ask to be respected in their orientation, (it is) a concept that was unknown in that era.”

Asked how he become a priest since Catholic doctrine excludes gays from the priesthood, Mgr. Charamsa pointed out that “this is a regulation that was introduced in 2005 when I was already a priest, and is valid only for new ordinations.”  But, he added, “it was a trauma for me.  It was not so previously, and I believe it is an error that needs to be corrected.”

He had always known that he was gay, he said, but “in the beginning, I did not accept it” and so he “zealously” sought “to subject” himself to the teaching of the Church and the life it imposed on him; that homosexuality does not exist, and if it does then it is to be destroyed.”

He explained that he has passed from “rejection” of his own homosexuality to being “happy” that he is gay, “by studying, praying and reflecting on myself” and by “dialogue with God, and confronting with theology, philosophy and science.”  He now has “a companion that helped me to transform my last fears into the force of love.”

He recognizes that the Church “will see me as one who did not know how to keep his promise, as someone who has got lost, and not for a woman but for a man.”  He recognizes too that he will have “to renounce the ministry, which is also my whole life.” He insisted, however,“ I am not doing it so as to be able to live with my companion”, rather “this is a much wider decision  that is born of reflection on the thinking of the Church.”

He explained this, saying:  “If I was not transparent, if I could not accept myself, I could not be a good priest because I would not be an agent for (communicating) the happiness of God “

Charamsa, who was working in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith until he gave this interview, expressed his conviction that “on these issues (regarding homosexuality), the Church is way behind in relation to the level of understanding reached by humanity.”

In the past too, he said, the Church has been behind on other matters, but when the delay related to astronomy “the consequences” were not “as heavy” as when they “touch the most intimate part of people.”

His conclusion:  “The Church must know that it is not responding to the challenge of the times!”

 

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WILSON GAUTREAUX
2 years 10 months ago
So thoughtful and sincere.
ed gleason
2 years 10 months ago
This Mgr 'outing' account and the Vigano's setting up the meeting with the KY clerk Davis are related. The inner Vatican uproar that Francis has started is coming to a pitch.. . That Vignao was not recalled last week [anyone should have deduced he set up the meeting].... is because that ambitious man,is no more in line for Cardinal, He knows more details about why Benedict resigned. He was probably the Butler's deep throat. There is a lot bigger Vatican story lurcking than that stupid meeting in DC.. Watch for a Tsunami roaring up the Tiber..I'm just holding on to the Gospel and head for Higher Ground. .
Gef Flimlin
2 years 10 months ago
Taking away his ability to teach is wrong. If he is a good teacher, he should be allowed to teach. I had 8 years of Jesuits in St Peter's Prep and College. Undoubtedly some were gay, but the Jesuits have always been known as good teachers, sexual orientation aside. He has chosen two things....to be priest and to teach. He didn't chose to be gay, he just is. This needs to be re-examined.
Tim O'Leary
2 years 10 months ago
He might be a good teacher of LGBT advocacy, but he cannot be a good Catholic teacher. At a minimum, he has been living a lie regarding his vow of celibacy.
RoseAnne Cleary
2 years 10 months ago
The Vatican objects to this announcement because the timing "aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure.” It's hard not to hear that as the fear of public embarrassment being shouted louder than any response to Charamsa's statement. To me, it is reminiscent of hiding reports of clergy sex abuse for fear of scandal. I do not fault Pope Francis directly for this, but he surely needs to pay better attention to who speaks for him. I feel that the topic of the non-celibate priesthood (whether hetero- or homo-sexual) as well as other untouchable issues become even more taboo when they are thus wrongly referenced..
Tim O'Leary
2 years 10 months ago
So, the gay lobby is real! And this fifth column has infiltrated the CDF! I wonder what other heterodoxy Fr. Charamsa believes? It will all come out in due time, I suppose. It was clearly hypocritical of him to have been secretly involved in homosexual affairs for years while he had taken a vow of celibacy and fidelity to the teaching of the Church, especially in the CDF. This move will also likely backfire. The Synod will now be especially concerned that their discussions not degenerate into politics or have any appearance of caving to the gay lobby. Recall what Pope Francis said to CLAR in 2013: “In the Curia,there are holy people. But there is also a stream of corruption. “The 'gay lobby' is mentioned, and it is true, it is there. We need to see what we can do.”

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