Pope and Vatican in a growing mess over gay issues


Monsignor Charamsa (left) and his boyfriend (Alessandro Fiorani / YouTube)

Pope Francis has become embroiled in further controversy over gay issues since he met with Kim Davis last month, including firing a Vatican priest who came out on the weekend.

Following anger at reports that he met and embraced Davis and offering her words of encouragement in Washington, DC, during his trip to the US, the Vatican has tried to backtrack on the incident.

In a statement, it said that the “brief” meeting was not a “real audience,” that it was part of greeting a number of people and should not be seen as “a form of support of [Davis’] position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

The Vatican further pointed out that the Pope only had one private meeting in Washington, DC – and that was with an openly gay friend from Argentina and his partner.

Davis’ legal counsel has lashed back, insisting that the meeting was “initiated by the Vatican” and was a “private meeting without any other members of the public present.”

The Pope returned to Rome to take part in the Bishops’ Synod on the Family, but was quickly faced with another furore when Vatican priest Krzysztof Charamsa came out on Saturday in the Italian media, also announcing that he is in a gay relationship.

Furious at the timing of his coming out, the Vatican responded by immediately firing Monsignor Charamsa.

Speaking to Corriere della Sera, Charamsa said: “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 realised that offering gay believers total abstinence from a life of love is inhuman.”

He added: “Humanity has made great progress in its understanding of these issues, but the Church is lagging behind. The Church needs to realise that it is failing to rise to the challenge of our times.”

The Vatican explained that it fired Charamsa because his public coming out was “grave and irresponsible” and put “undue media pressure” on the 300 bishops meeting for the synod.

The media firestorm around the firing threatened to dominate the synod, which was opened by the Pope with a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday.

Francis used the opportunity to reiterate the Catholic view that marriage and family are only possible with heterosexual couplings. “This is God’s dream for his beloved creation: to see it fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self,” he said.

At an earlier international conference in Rome on Friday, titled, “Living the Truth in Love: Addressing the Pastoral Needs of Men and Women with Homosexual Tendencies,” a number of LGBT Catholics spoke about living chaste lives and called on other gays and lesbians in the faith to abstain from having sex. They also urged the synod to promote chastity outside of traditional marriage.

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