Senior Gay Priest Coming Out: New Ways Ministry Responds

“Gay Priest’s Revelation Is an Important Step  for Himself and for the Catholic Church”

Statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry

MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland—Monsignor Krzystof Charamsa’s announcement of his gay sexual orientation is an important step for him personally and an important step for the Catholic Church.  This Vatican official, who worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, exhibited courage and honesty in making his orientation public.

His revelation is an acknowledgement of the truth of the way God has made him, and, like millions of other LGBT Catholics, his self-acceptance and self-affirmation will help him better understand God’s love for him. For the Catholic Church, his news is another step in our growing process of coming to better terms with our LGBT brothers and sisters.

It is sadly disappointing that the Vatican fired him when they learned of his announcement.  He now joins the long list of LGBT people and allies who have been fired from jobs in Catholic institutions because of LGBT issues.  It is unfortunate that Church leaders did not see Charamsa’s announcement as an opportunity for further dialogue with someone they have known and trusted.

We hope that his news will help the bishops of the world gathering in Rome this weekend for three weeks of synod discussions which will include pastoral outreach to families with LGBT members.  His witness to the holiness of the lives of LGBT people and the goodness of their relational lives could help these church leaders discern more appropriate and accepting forms of pastoral care.   His testimony of struggle and overcoming fear should help these bishops see the challenges and joys that many LGBT people and their families face.’

The decision to come out is a highly personal one, and one which only the individual can make.  Only the individual can decide when it is safe and responsible to do so, taking into account the possible negative repercussions that can occur in terms of employment, housing, and relationships.  Only the individual can decide when the pressures of the closet have become too difficult for their emotional and spiritual lives. New Ways Ministry continues to support all LGBT people–including priests, nuns, brothers, deacons, bishops–as they discern when is the appropriate time for them to make such a revelation about themselves.


2 thoughts on “Senior Gay Priest Coming Out: New Ways Ministry Responds”

  1. Unfortunate timing, if it was designed to influence the Synod. My understanding of high level politics is that if anything this will have the opposite effect: it will be regarded as a harbinger of the future, and liberal cardinals will have this thrown in their faces by conservatives. It portends not just homosexuality, but celibacy. One would have thought a member of “the inquisition” would have realised that. One step forward, two steps back. Very sad.

    1. I’m not at all certain that the timing was of his own choosing. The coming out process is always deeply personal, complicated in this case by his personal circumstances. I also know that rumours about his plans were circulating widely at at least a week before the announcement. The timing could have been precipitated by concerns to control the process before hostile press reports outed him unilaterally – or the stress could have simply led him to get it over with, once and for all – but not with the direct intention of influencing the Synod (he has in fact firmly denied that was his intention).

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