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Archbishop: ‘We support’ priest who came out as ‘gay’ in Sunday homily

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MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, December 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – With the approval of his archbishop, a Catholic priest announced to his parish and to the world that he is a homosexual during Sunday Mass.

The Rev. Gregory Greiten, a priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese and pastor of St. Bernadette Parish, said, “I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!”  

In a carefully crafted one-two punch, Greiten’s Sunday announcement was quickly followed on Monday by a lengthy column penned by the homosexual priest for the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).

Not once in the over 2,200 word NCR commentary did Greiten acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ or his dedication to him; nor was the importance of repentance and confession mentioned.  And while Greiten’s proclamation makes it abundantly clear he is “gay,” conspicuously absent is a declaration of personal chastity.  

Milwaukee Archbishop approves homosexual pastor’s homily and NCR screed

In advance of the Sunday announcement, Milwaukee's archbishop, the Most Rev. Jerome Listecki, met with Greiten, who warned his superior of his plans.  Rather than forbid or counsel against the priest’s actions, Listecki instead issued a statement backing his announcement.  

“We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” said Listecki.  “As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion. As priests who have made a promise to celibacy, we know that every week there are people in our pews who struggle with the question of homosexuality.”

Rejection of Church teaching on best pastoral response to homosexuality

The actions––and inactions––in the Milwaukee Archdiocese surrounding Greiten’s declaration challenge the Church’s teaching on the best pastoral practices concerning the same-sex attracted.    

“The respect and sensitivity to which the Catechism rightly calls us does not give us permission to deprive men and women who experience SSA (same-sex attraction) of the fullness of the Gospel. To omit the ‘hard sayings’ of Christ and his Church is not charity,” warned Cardinal Robert Sarah earlier this year.   

And yet those “hard sayings” were not only ignored this week in the Archdiocese of  Milwaukee, they were condemned as Greiten claimed, “the church itself robs [gays] of hope.”

Greiten’s action also contradicts the church’s solid pastoral wisdom in not recognizing anyone as “gay,” but only as “same-sex attracted.”

Daniel Mattson, a same-sex attracted Catholic and author of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay, warns, “The reframing of human sexuality from behavior to identity has brought about a lot of confusion in the world, especially among young people … ”  It is the “greatest single victory of the gay movement.”

That confusion just gained a big foothold in the Badger State.

Archbishop ignores Vatican directives on homosexual priests

In 2005 the Vatican issued a directive that homosexual men should not be admitted to the Catholic priesthood. The Vatican reaffirmed the directive under Pope Francis last year.

The 2005 document, approved by Pope Benedict XVI and classed as an “Instruction” was issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education. It counseled that homosexual men should not be allowed into seminaries even if they are celibate. Further, it said homosexuality – understood by the Catholic Church as a moral and psychological disorder – seriously “detracts from [priests’] ability to serve as ministers.”

Fr. Greiten’s compulsion to publicly declare his being “gay” as integral to defining his personhood confirms the wisdom of the directive. As the 2005 directives stated: “As a moral and psychological disorder, [homosexuality] seriously ‘detracts from [priests’] ability to serve as ministers.”

Fr. Greiten accuses the Catholic Church

Greiten used his NCR column as an opportunity to accuse the Catholic Church of perpetuating an environment of “toxic shaming and systemic secrecy” regarding homosexuals in the priesthood.

“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.”

“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,” the priest continued.  “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.”

Asserts a huge number of Catholic priests are “gay”

Greiten suggests that a stunning proportion of priests in the United States identify as “gay.”

“There is no question there are and always have been celibate, gay priests and chaste members of religious communities. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, in 2016, there were 37,192 diocesan and religious priests serving in the United States. While there are no exact statistics on the number of gay Catholic priests, Fr. Donald B. Cozzens suggested in his book, The Changing Face of the Priesthood, that an estimated 23 percent to 58 percent of priests were in fact gay. It would mean that there are anywhere from 8,554 (low) to 21,571 (high) gay Catholic priests in the United States today.”

Priest says God creates people ‘gay’ or ‘transgender’

Greiten went further, asserting that God creates people to be homosexual, and that embracing one’s own identity as “gay” or “transgender” or that of others, is the first step in being one’s “authentic self,” and becoming “fully alive.”  

“I promise to be my authentically gay self.  I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” declared the pastor.  “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.”

Vatican advisor Fr. James Martin, SJ expresses admiration

“This man is a pioneer,” tweeted Fr. James Martin, SJ, pro-LGBT Catholic activist and  editor at large for America Magazine.  “There are hundreds, if not thousands, of celibate gay priests in the Catholic Church, offering their lives to God and God's people. The church is invited to see, and accept this truth.  Because the truth sets us free.”

Fr. Greiten counts himself as a type of hero, saying, “I stand with these few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”

Like Fr. James Martin, Greiten thinks other priests should publicly declare a false “gay” identity:  “What if every priest and religious were given the opportunity to live their life in truth and freedom without worrying about some form of reprisal from someone in authority over them? How different, affirming and welcoming would our Catholic Church truly become by simply acknowledging, accepting and supporting each and every gay priest and religious in their midst?”

Milwaukee Archdiocese drama reveals conflict within the Catholic Church

Battles quietly rage within the Catholic Church over how best to pastor the same-sex attracted (SSA), and in the pages of Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay, Mattson skillfully addresses two enormous issues facing the Church at this critical moment history.

First, some SSA Catholics such as Fr. Greiten seek not to reject “gay” identity but to cherish and enshrine their “gayness” as a personal identity beyond male or female. They are proud to simultaneously call themselves “Gay and Catholic,” abandoning Church teaching that homoerotic desire is intrinsically disordered. Though they may strive to be chaste, they prefer to celebrate being “gay” and to divine special gifts from it.

Second, a growing number of priests and prelates now challenge the Church’s genuine understanding of the human person and of human sexuality. Some of these go further than embracing chaste “gay identity” and flirt with the notion that active homosexuality should be recognized as a valid way of life within the Church.

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Doug Mainwaring

Doug Mainwaring is a journalist for LifeSiteNews, an author, and a marriage, family and children's rights activist.  He has testified before the United States Congress and state legislative bodies, originated and co-authored amicus briefs for the United States Supreme Court, and has been a guest on numerous TV and radio programs.  Doug and his family live in the Washington, DC suburbs.