On October 3, Msgr. Krysztof Charamsa, a Catholic priest working at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith granted a video interview Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera during which he identified as a “homosexual priest, with a partner.” Following, Charamsa stated, “I want the Church and my community to know who I am: a gay priest who is happy, and proud of his identity. 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.” The day before Charamsa’s interview was held a meeting consisting of Catholic men and women with same sex attraction who choose to live celibate live. The meeting was sponsored by Courage, an international Catholic apostolate to those experiencing same-sex attraction who wish to be faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church.
Msgr. Charamsa had been a faculty member of Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and Regina Apostolorum University since 2009 and in 2011 he was made secretary of the International Theological Commission. The Catholic Church teaches celibacy for all individuals who are not married, regardless of sexual orientation. In particular, those who have chosen to enter religious life take a vow of celibacy. Following his announcement, Charamsa was removed from his position in the Vatican and at the universities.
Rev. Frederico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s press office, commented that Charamsa’s dismissal did not have to do with the announcement of his sexual orientation, but rather with the fact that he confessed to having broken his vow of celibacy and because of the timing of this announcement having come one day before the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Fr. Lombardi continued, “The choice to make such a pointed statement on the vigil of the Synod’s opening seems very serious and irresponsible, since it seeks to impose on the Synod assembly undue media pressure.” He added, “Msgr. Charamsa will not be able to continue performing his previous duties at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Universities, whereas other aspects of his situation are under the competence of his diocesan ordinary.”
The Synod, which concluded on October 25 was intended to address “the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” It focused on a broad range of issues including domestic violence towards women, incest, pornography, pastoral care for individuals and families with individuals with homosexual attraction, and integration of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, among other issues. The final draft—which was released upon the Synod’s closing—reinforced the Catholic Church’s teachings on the beauty of family life and emphasized greater attention to and care for those members with homosexual attraction and the divorced and civilly remarried.