An employee of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith came out as a practicing homosexual just before the start of the Synod on the Family. Now he loses his priesthood and teaching license.
In a newspaper interview, the Polish monsignor called for a fundamental opening of the Catholic Church to same-sex couples. "A lesbian or gay couple must be able to say to their church: We love each other according to our nature, and with this good of our love we also want to contribute to others," demanded Krzysztof Olaf Charamsa in the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera" (Saturday). It is not a private matter, he said, and it is not just about sexual gratification, but a public fact.
Charamsa (43) has worked in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003 and is also Assistant Secretary of the Vatican's International Commission of Theologians. He is also a lecturer at the Pontifical Colleges of the Jesuits (Gregoriana) and the College of the Legionaries of Christ (Regina Apostolorum).
Reaction from the Vatican
The decision to make such a sensational statement before the opening of the Synod of Bishops seems "very serious and irresponsible," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said. In this way Charamsa wanted to put the synod under media prere. It was clear that the clergyman could no longer perform his duties at the Vatican and at the pontifical universities under these circumstances.
At the same time, Lombardi expressed respect for Charamsa's personal situation. Further steps under canon law against the clergyman fall under the jurisdiction of his local bishop, the Vatican spokesman said. It is clear to him that he will now lose his priesthood and probably also his teaching license, Charamsa explained. He did not make this decision, however, because he wants to live with his life partner. It was the result of an intense debate with church teaching, he said.
A homosexual disposition in itself is not a sin according to church teaching, but practiced homosexuality is. Roman Catholic priests are not allowed to have heterosexual or homosexual intimate relationships. The World Synod of Bishops on Marriage and the Family, which begins this Sunday, will also discuss how to deal with homosexuals within families.
Pope embraces homosexual couple
Meanwhile, Pope Francis' embrace of a homosexual couple during his U.S. trip, according to media reports, continues to make headlines. The pope had warmly greeted a former student and his partner at the Vatican embassy in Washington. The Vatican on Friday countered speculation that the pope had wanted to send a church-political signal with it. Francis has many "pastorally motivated personal contacts" that he cultivates with kindness, openness and dialogue, Lombardi emphasized.