by NZ Catholic staff
The news of a Polish monsignor who works in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had publicly declared his homosexuality is “damaging”, according to Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan.
Bishop Drennan, who is in Rome for the Synod on the Family, said the topic had inevitably come up in conversations at the Synod.
“The timing of his announcement was of course as orchestrated as it is in my view damaging. He has said he hopes his actions will help the Synod address with seriousness the question of homosexual love. I suspect, however, that the outcome of his actions may well be to the contrary. Grandstanding a position rarely wins friends,” he noted in his blog.
Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa, 43, gave interviews to Polish and Italian media Oct. 2 and planned a news conference the following day outside the offices of the congregation. The conference, however, was moved to a restaurant nearby.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said Oct. 3 that Msgr. 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.”
Bishop Drennan the monsignor’s move could backfire.
“I have never met this particular gay Monsignore but I wondered, I hope not uncharitably, if his move were not laced with narcissism. He will have put wind in the sails of all those who struggle to engage in conversation about sexual orientation,” he said.
His colleagues were not impressed. “Boh! as an Italian prelate sitting next to me proclaimed, and then sensibly he suggested, ‘let’s have a limoncello’,” he related.
In one of the interviews before his news conference, Msgr. 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 Msgr. Charamsa, in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church take a vow of celibacy. Exceptions, for example in the case of former Anglican priests, have been made for some clergy who were married before becoming Catholic.
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, Msgr. Charamsa planned to participate in a conference Oct. 3-4 organized by the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics to discuss issues related to the Catholic Church, family life and homosexuality. (- with reports from CNS)