A priest who provoked the Vatican by loudly coming out as gay on the eve of a synod of the world's bishops to discuss church outreach to gays, divorcees and more traditional Catholic families was quickly fired by the church.
The priest, Krzysztof Charamsa, a mid-level official in its doctrine office, came out of the closet at a press conference at a restaurant in Rome, accompanied by his lover, saying he was happy and proud to be a gay priest, and that he was in love with the man who was identified only as Eduard, reported The Associated Press.
"The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.
As a result, Charamsa could no longer work at the Vatican or its pontifical universities, Lombardi said. Despite his dismissal, Charamsa remains a priest, although Lombardi hinted that his superiors could take further action.
Charamsa, 43, initially planned a press conference in front of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's office, but moved it to Rome restaurant after the Vatican action.
Charamsa told reporters that the timing of his disclosure was not related to the bishops meeting on the family, but said he hoped it might add "a Christian voice" to the synod that is expected to address how the Church can better minister to the homosexual faithful.
"I came out. This is a very personal, difficult and tough decision in the Catholic church's homophobic world," Charamsa said, and asked people to bear this in mind.
He said he has written a book in Italian and Polish to "lay bare" his experience "in front of all those who want to confront me."
Charamsa told the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that he was motivated to make his sexual orientation public by hate mail that he received after publicly criticizing a right-wing Polish priest who is strongly anti-gay in the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny.
"I have to say who I am. I am a gay priest. I am a happy and proud gay priest," he told Gazeta Wyborcza.
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