A Roman Catholic priest came out to his parishioners Sunday and to the rest of the world Monday in a first-person column in National Catholic Reporter.
The Rev. Gregory Greiten of St. Bernadette Catholic church here said he was breaking the silence of gay men in the clergy so he could reclaim his own voice.
“I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!” he told worshipers Sunday. He received a standing ovation.
While gay men do serve as priests, rarely does priest to come out to his parishioners in this way.
Church theology teaches that acting upon homosexuality is a sin. All priests take a vow of celibacy.
In announcing his identity as a gay man, Greiten chastised the Catholic Church for its stance on homosexuality.
By choosing to enforce silence, the institutional church pretends that gay priests and religious do not really exist. Because of this, there are no authentic role models of healthy, well-balanced, gay, celibate priests to be an example for those, young and old, who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation.This only perpetuates the toxic shaming and systemic secrecy.
Greiten wrote that he stands with the “few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”
I promise to be my authentically gay self. I will embrace the person that God created me to be.
In my priestly life and ministry, I, too, will help you, whether you are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered, to be your authentic self — to be fully alive living in your image and likeness of God. In reflecting our God-images out into the world, our world will be a brighter, more tolerant place.
I have lived far too many years chained up and imprisoned in the closet behind walls of shame, trauma and abuse because of the homophobia and discrimination so prevalent in my church and the world. But rather, today, I chart a new course in freedom and in integrity knowing that there is nothing that anyone can do to hurt or destroy my spirit any longer.
First steps in accepting and loving the person God created me to be: ‘I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!’
Whether Greiten will face any consequences for his admission likely will depend on Milwaukee’s archbishop, the Most Rev. Jerome Listecki.