The Vatican on Saturday dismissed a gay priest from his Holy See job on the eve of a major Church meeting for a highly public coming out that challenged the Roman Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are a sin.
Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a Polish theologian, had
worked at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's
doctrinal arm, since 2003. He was also sacked from his jobs teaching theology
at pontifical universities in Rome.
Charamsa, 43, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper
that he was gay and had a partner in an interview published on Saturday. The
Church does not consider homosexuality a sin but priests, whether heterosexual
or gay, are meant to be celibate.
Charasma also held a news conference with his partner and
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 due to have
The Vatican said the dismissal had nothing to do with
Charasma's reflections on his personal life, which it said "merit
But it said giving the interview and the planned
demonstration was "grave and irresponsible" given their timing on the
eve of a synod of bishops who will discuss family issues, including the
Church's position on gays.
It said his actions would subject the synod, which Pope
Francis is due to open on Sunday, to "undue media pressure".
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.
He suggested that a study be made of how many homosexuals
work in the Vatican. "We can't continue showing contempt and offence
towards homosexuals," he said.
The issue of homosexuality and the Church has dominated
the aftermath of the pope's visit to the United States last week.
"I ask the pope to be strong and to remember us,
homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals as children of the Church and
members of humanity," Charamsa said.
The Vatican has been embarrassed by a row over the pope's
meeting during his U.S. trip with Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who went
to jail in September for refusing to honor a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and
issue same-sex marriage licences.
by Louise Ireland