On the eve of a synod of bishops, which will meet to discuss family and marriage issues, the Vatican has dismissed a Polish priest from his position at the Holy See after he announced he is gay and called for changes in the Church’s position on homosexual relationships.
Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, 43, who worked since 2003 at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal arm, and taught theology at various pontifical universities in Rome, told Italian and Polish media that he was a homosexual priest and had a partner. After speaking with the media, he then held a news conference at a restaurant with his partner present as well as gay activists. Media reports say the group was planning a demonstration in front of the Vatican, but changed the venue a few hours before it was due to start.
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.
The Vatican said the dismissal had nothing to do with Charasma’s reflections on his personal life, which it said “merit respect.” But it also said Charasma’s actions were “grave and irresponsible,” given the timing, and that his actions were aimed at subjecting the synod, which Pope Francis opens Sunday, to “undue media pressure”.
The official statement from the director of the Holy See press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, is as follows:
With regard to the declarations and interview given by Msgr. Krzystof Charamsa it should be observed that, notwithstanding the respect due to the 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. Msgr. Charamsa 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.