Gay Priest Fired For Coming Out Right Before Vatican Assembly On Family, Marriage & Same-Sex Relationships

One person who probably doesn’t refer to Pope Francis as “Cool Pope” like so many have called the notoriously less-bigoted-than-usual Catholic Church figurehead? Former Vatican priest Krzysztof Charamsa, who was fired just before the Church’s assembly on family issues this weekend, because he came out as gay and introduced reporters to his boyfriend.

“I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity,” Charamsa told the Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper on Saturday. “I’m prepared to pay the consequences, but it’s time the Church opened its eyes, and realized that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.”

Those consequences were swift and serious, with the Vatican issuing Charamsa a pink slip (not literally, as I imagine the Vatican fires priests in their own way and probably doesn’t even have an HR department) almost immediately, saying the timing of his announcement just before their month-long conference was “very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the Synod assembly to undue media pressure.” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi also said Charamsa’s announcement made it so he “will certainly be unable” to continue as a Vatican priest, referring to the vow of celibacy he took when he was ordained.

Charamsa insisted the timing of his announcement had nothing to do with the Synod, in which hundreds of Catholic bishops convene to discuss marriage, divorce and same-sex relationships.. “I came out. This is a very personal, difficult and tough decision in the Catholic Church’s homophobic world,” Charamsa explained at a press conference in Rome on Saturday. Instead of attending the Synod, he helped kick off the first meeting of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, a group of 13 organizations advocating for inclusion of gays in the church.

Pope Francis has been notably more open-minded than prior popes, going as far as to say “Who am I to judge?” while at the same time still reinforcing the Church’s long-held views on homosexuality and marriage. During the opening of the Synod on Saturday, Pope Francis maintained the Church’s heteronormative stance, saying: “This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self.”

Charamsa, meanwhile, says his public admission of something so personal has an aim much bigger than himself. “I hope that my personal experience will help stir the church’s consciousness in some way,” he explained. “A lesbian or gay couple should be able to openly say to their Church: ‘we love each other according to our nature, and offer this gift of our love to others.’”

Here’s hoping Pope Francis is cool enough to listen. [Washington Post]