Former high-ranking Catholic priest Krzysztof Charamsa, who was defrocked after publicly revealing that he is gay, has said that he has no regrets doing so.
The Polish-born 43-year-old had a long career as a priest that included 12 years as an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal enforcement body.
He was fired from his Vatican position hours after he announced his sexual orientation on Oct 3, the eve of the Vatican’s synod on the family, which drew bishops from around the world. He was subsequently defrocked by a Polish bishop on Oct 21.
In a phone interview with Religion News Service from Barcelona, Spain where he now lives with his boyfriend Eduard, he said he has no regrets revealing the truth.
‘I understood that it had nothing to do with reality,’ he said. ‘A moment arrived and I couldn’t do it anymore.’
‘I can’t follow Jesus from the closet.’
Despite being defrocked, Charamsa insists his vocation continues. ‘Today I think I am a better priest — I’m free.’
He said in the interview that he tried unsuccessfully to improve the Church’s approach to homosexuality from within the Holy See.
‘In the most important part of the Church I couldn’t cast doubt on the strategy of homophobia; I could not use the word “homophobia.”‘
And in the end, he was ‘treated like an object that gets thrown away. … We (gay priests) are treated like objects that must be silent.’
He said he enjoys living openly with his partner — ‘the only person who helped (him)’ — in Barcelona, which he describes as ‘an open city which is so tolerant.’
He added that he is frequently stopped by supporters in the streets and has received letters from a number of gay priests.
Charamsa also expressed that he is hopeful that Pope Francis, who has shown a greater openness than his predecessors toward gay Catholics, will bring about more acceptance of LGBTs although he noted that there are no signs he will try to change Church doctrine on homosexuality.
In a separate interview with AFP published on Friday, he revealed that he has written what he called ‘New manifesto for gay liberation’ and which he plans to deliver to the Vatican in the hope of changing the Church’s stance on homosexuality.
He says the manifesto will appeal to the Vatican to discard Church documents that are hostile towards homosexuals including Benedict XVI’s 2005 edict banning bishops from ordaining homosexuals into the priesthood.
It also calls on the Vatican to allow gays to become priests, and also to revise its interpretation of Biblical texts on this issue.
The former theology professor said he hopes to be able to start teaching again at university and write a book about his experience in the Vatican.