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Vatican acts after priest declares publicly that he is gay and has a partner

Mgr Krzysztof Charamsa and his partner Eduard, surname not given, pose for a photo as they leave a restaurant after a press conference in Rome (AP)

On the eve of the family synod, a Polish monsignor who works in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has publicly declared that he is gay and has a stable partner.

Mgr Krzystof Charamsa, 43, gave interviews to Polish and Italian media on October 2 and planned a press conference the following day outside the offices of the congregation. The conference, however, was moved to a restaurant nearby.

Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Oct. 3 that Mgr Charamsa and his reflections on his life and sexuality were deserving of respect, but “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 world Synod of Bishops on the family is scheduled to begin on Sunday with a Mass.

“Mgr Charamsa will certainly be unable to continue to carry out his previous work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the pontifical universities,” where he teaches: the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Fr Lombardi said.

“The other aspects of his situation shall remain the competence of his diocesan ordinary,” the Bishop of Pelplin, Poland, Fr Lombardi said. Mgr Charamsa, who has worked at the doctrinal congregation since 2003, was ordained for the Diocese of Pelplin in 1997.

In one of the interviews before his press conference, Mgr Charamsa told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “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.”

Most priests, like Mgr Charamsa, in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church take a vow of celibacy.

On the topic of homosexuality, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “Tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The catechism also says, homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity,” the catechism says.

In connection with the synod on the family, Mgr Charamsa planned to participate in a conference organised by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics to discuss issues related to the Catholic church, family life and homosexuality.