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Some Gay Catholics Say Priest’s Coming Out Did More Harm Than Good

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/12/15

From The Washington Post, some background and context on the headline-making declaration of Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa, who dramatically kicked open the closet door on the eve of the Synod and ended up losing not only his job, but also his faculties.

Turns out, not everyone in the gay Catholic world was thrilled with the priest’s stunt.

Details:

Many gay activists are cheering Charamsa’s action, heralding him as a Vatican whistleblower. In two days of extensive interviews with The Washington Post, for instance, Charamsa said the Vatican office where he worked routinely shut down priests and bishops calling for more acceptance of gay people. He describes an angry uproar in its halls on the day in 2013 when Francis, responding to a question about gay priests, famously declared, “Who am I to judge?” Yet at a time when they can almost smell what they call the sweet scent of change, some gay Catholics counter that Charamsa’s “theatrical” coming out may have done more harm than good. It could, they say, embolden church hard-liners and have a chilling effect on the slowly thawing relations between gay people and the Catholic Church. …Critics of Charamsa’s public protest also question his timing. On Oct. 3, the day of the news conference, Andrea Rubera was across town helping manage a major meeting in Rome of gay Catholics. Rubera, the spokesman for an Italian gay group advocating a gentler approach toward change in the church, was hopeful about the major Vatican synod starting the next day. Bishops were set to discuss, among other issues, the church’s approach toward gays and lesbians. His group had even managed to secure a Catholic bishop — the Rev. José Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, Mexico — to speak at the meeting. Then Charamsa dropped his bombshell. “We spent a year organizing that conference,” Rubera said. “But the day it happened, the press showed up, and all they wanted to talk about was Charamsa.” Under Francis, Rubera said, he has sensed a subtle but important shift in the icy relationship between homosexuals and the Catholic Church in Italy. One local parish in Rome, he said, is now openly inviting gay Catholics to participate in church events — something once unthinkable. Yet Charamsa’s “theatrical” coming out, he says, put those gains in jeopardy and sabotaged the synod, which failed to break any new ground on homosexuality. “Our fear now is that his coming out, and the way he came out, will build a wall, not a bridge,” Rubera said. aid Michael Brinkschröder, coordinator of the European Forum of Christian LGBT Groups: “I think many cardinals — for example, Cardinal Müller — might have felt pressured [by Charamsa’s move]. My position is that pressure is not the appropriate means to achieve change.”

Read it all.

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