The Catholic Church on Saturday fired a high-ranking Vatican official after he revealed to an Italian newspaper that he was gay and has a male partner.
In an interview published Saturday, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, 43, a Polish theologian who worked in the Hole See press office, told Italian newspaper Corriere della-Sera that he was gay and proud of his sexuality, Reuters reported.
Mr. Charamsa was also booted from his jobs teaching theology at pontifical universities in Rome. He had worked at the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm, since 2003.
“I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman,” Mr. Charasma told the Italian newspaper.
The Catholic church does not consider homosexuality a sin, but priests, whether heterosexual or gay, are meant to be celibate.
Mr. Charasma also held a news conference with his partner and other gay activists at a Rome restaurant. They had planned a demonstration in front of the Vatican but changed the venue several hours before it was scheduled to start, Reuters reported.
In a statement the Vatican said the dismissal had nothing to do with Mr. Charasma’s coming out, but was prompted by the timing of his statement, which came a day before an important papal meeting, called a synod, on family matters and how to engage with the gay community.
Rev. Federico Lombardi, who serves as the director of the Holy See press office, said Mr. Charamsa’s “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,” the official Vatican News Network reported.
At the news conference, Charamsa said he wanted to make “an enormous noise for the good of the Church” and apply “good Christian pressure” on the synod not to forget homosexual believers.
“This decision of mine to come out was a very personal one taken in a Catholic Church that is homophobic and very difficult and harsh (towards gays),” he said, Reuters reported.
The firing comes as the Vatican struggles with its relationship with the gay community after it was revealed that Pope Francis held a private meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriages across the U.S.