In firing openly gay priest, the Vatican reveals itself to be out of step with many Catholics

Screen shot of Reuters video

Montsignor Krzysztof Charamsa has broken many of the Vatican's rules lately. But, despite his firing, it looks as if he's not the only Catholic who wants to see those rules broken.

Charamsa, a Polish theologian in the Vatican, came out as gay in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday. He also revealed that he has been in a longterm relationship with a man, thus breaking his vow of celibacy.


The 43-year-old priest's announcement came two days before a synod at the Vatican, Al Jazeera America reports, where family-related issues, such as the Church's stance on homosexuality, will be discussed. In additional media appearances, Charamsa said that he hoped to put "good Christian pressure" on the synod.

"This is a much broader decision that comes from reflection on Church ideology," Charamsa told Corriere della Sera (shoutout to Google Translate). "I think that, on these issues, the Church is lagging behind the knowledge that humanity has reached… The Church needs to know that it is not taking up the issues of its day."

A view of St. Peter’s Square during a canonization ceremony held by Pope Francis on May 17, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The Vatican removed Charamsa from the priesthood on Saturday, Reuters reports. A spokesperson for Pope Francis clarified that the Church did not object to Charamsa's sexuality, but to his relationship and "very serious and irresponsible" actions in the media.


But not all of the commenters under the Corriere della Sera interview seem to agree. "So, what?" reads one. "Does it open Pandora's box?" Another calls the Vatican's actions "anacronistico."

And surveys taken over the last 15 years suggest that a majority of Catholics—at least those in the United States—would not agree with Charamsa's firing.


A 2001 Gallup poll found that 57% of Catholics thought gay people should be able to serve in the clergy—slightly greater than the 54% approval rating found among the greater American public.

Pope Francis waves to boy scouts gathered in St. Peter’s Square on June 13, 2015, in Vatican City, Vatican. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Yes, the poll is over 14 years old, but Gallup also found that their findings were part of a larger trend that saw an increasing acceptance of gay clergy over time. Presumably, that supportive 57% has only grown larger between then and now.

"The Catholic Church is blessed with many gay priests who remain chaste and celibate," Arthur Fitzmaurice, Resource Director for the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry, told Fusion. "Sexual orientation in itself should not be a criterion for determining one's suitability to serve as a priest, Monsignor, bishop, or even Pope. The Church would benefit from gay priests confronting, rather than repressing, their sexuality."


Pope Francis himself echoes this view. On the subject of gay—albeit celibate—priests, he told reporters in 2013 that:"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

As for Charamsa's broken vow of celibacy, Gallup reported in 2002 that even 72% of self-described "devout" American Catholics wanted their priests to be able to marry. This statistic was also found to have increased over time.


Bad at filling out bios seeks same.

Share This Story