So, what exactly, is the Catholic Church’s stance on openly gay priests?
In 1992, the Vatican under Pope John Paul II published the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which stated, among many other things, that “homosexual tendencies” are “objectively disordered.” One of the principal theologians who shaped the document was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would succeed John Paul II as Pope Benedict XVI. He too would take a hard-line stance against homosexuality.
Two decades later, Pope Francis has signaled what many believe to be a softening on the matter.
In 2013, when asked about gay priests, he famously replied, “Who am I to judge?” He has continued to call for the Catholic Church to treat LGBT people with dignity and respect, and to fight discrimination against sexual minorities. –RNS
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – The Rev. Gregory Greiten told his congregation Sunday, “I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!”
The priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese serves as the pastor of St. Bernadette Parish. On Monday, he came out to the rest of the world with a column in the National Catholic Reporter. He received a standing ovation from his parishioners when he made his announcement before the column’s publication.
Greiten said he was breaking the silence of gay men in the clergy so he could reclaim his own voice.
While it is established that there are gay men who serve as priests, it is rare for a priest to come out to his congregation in this way. Greiten shares an estimate in his article that there are between 8,554 and 21,571 gay Catholic priests in the United States from “The Changing Face of the Priesthood.” Church theology teaches that acting upon homosexuality is a sin.
In announcing his identity as a gay man, Greiten chastised the Catholic Church for its stance on homosexuality.
“By choosing to enforce silence, the institutional church pretends that gay priests and religious do not really exist. Because of this, there are no authentic role models of healthy, well-balanced, gay, celibate priests to be an example for those, young and old, who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation. This only perpetuates the toxic shaming and systemic secrecy.”
NYP-Greiten wrote that has decided to stand with the “few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”
The church’s silent stance on gay priests perpetuates toxic shaming and systematic secrecy, Greiten wrote. The church needs healthy role models for priests who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation, he said.
Greiten met with Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki before coming out, according to an archdiocese spokeswoman.
“We support Father Greiten in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” Listecki said in a statement Monday. “As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.”