The Vatican has dismissed a gay priest, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, from his Holy See job after he came out as gay and revealed he has a boyfriend during a highly publicized news conference in Rome, Reuters reports
. He has also been fired from his theology teaching positions at pontifical universities in Rome.
A high-ranking Vatican official, Monsignor Charamsa made his controversial announcement on the eve of the opening of the synod,
an important meeting of Church bishops to discuss family issues, including the Church's position on gays, divorce, and cohabitation. The 43-year-old Polish theologian, who had worked at the Vatican's doctrinal arm, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, since 2003, told Italy's Corriere della Sera
newspaper that he was gay and romantically involved with a partner in an interview originally published today before opening up alongside his partner and other gay activists in a news conference at a Rome restaurant.
"This decision of mine to come out was a very personal one taken in a Catholic Church that is homophobic and very difficult and harsh (towards gays)," Charamsa said to the gathered media, going on to note that by coming out publicly, he wanted to make "an enormous noise for the good of the Church" and apply "good Christian pressure" on Vatican officials to not forget about homosexual believers.
"I ask the pope to be strong and to remember us, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals as children of the Church and members of humanity," Charamsa explained. "We can't continue showing contempt and offense towards homosexuals."
The Vatican, which has been under fire this week after Pope Francis's allegedly circumstantial meeting with conservative Kentucky clerk Kim Davis
drew media scrutiny, says Charamsa's dismissal had nothing to do with the revelations about his personal life, which it said "merit respect." Rather, the issue is one of "grave and irresponsible" timing: "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," explained Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi in a statement
This explanation seems plausible, considering that the widely beloved Pope Francis been notably more accepting of the LGBT community
during his tenure than past Vatican officials, even recently ending his trip stateside by meeting with an openly gay former student and his partner
Hear more directly from Monsignor Kryzstof Charamsa below. Fair warning: This video is in Polish.