A homosexual priest working undercover in the Vatican tried to sucker-punch Catholic prelates meeting in Rome for a major synod on marriage and the family by organizing a media blitz in which he publicly outed himself, just a day before the international meeting was scheduled to begin.
Msgr. Kryzstof Charamsa simultaneously released a “manifesto of liberation,” consisting of a list of ten “demands,” in which he insists that the Catholic Church change its teaching on the morality of gay sex as well as its interpretation of the Bible as condemning sodomy.
The priest had apparently been biding his time, going to work every day and pronouncing doctrinal judgments on the work of other theologians, while all the time harboring resentment toward the Church and plotting his revenge for its “homophobia.” Though he has said that he lived in denial for years, it isn’t clear when he decided he was homosexual.
Posing for photos with his Catalonian boyfriend Eduard, Charamsa said that he intended to make “an enormous noise” and to put “pressure” on the synod on behalf of the LGBT agenda.
Charamsa prepared for his media show by granting a lengthy, multi-language interview to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, in which he accused the Church of being “behind the times” and of not looking homosexuals “in the eye.”
The priest contemporaneously released a video prepared by the Polish LGBT activist group Artykuł osiemnasty, in which he lays out his ten-point list of demands, accusing the Church of hate speech, homophobia, hypocrisy, falsehood, persecution, marginalization and rejection of gays. He demands that the Church amend the Catholic Catechism, removing the qualification of homosexual acts as sinful, just as New York Times writer and gay activist Frank Bruni had done last April.
Charamsa denounced several documents published by the very department that he worked for since 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including a text cited Monday morning on the floor of the synod hall by Cardinal Peter Erdö, the chairman of the meeting.
“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” the text reads.
Among his demands, Charamsa urges the Catholic Church to reevaluate the important “developments” made by gender studies and other secular disciplines that treat homosexuality.
“I reject and I denounce the current atmosphere of exasperating homophobia,” he said, while urging the Church to change its teachings regarding the sin of Sodom. The Church must update its interpretation of the Bible regarding homosexual acts to free itself of “fundamentalism,” he said.
Charamsa claims that the Bible “says nothing on the subject of homosexuality” and that the “biblical sodomite has nothing to do with two gays that love each other in modern-day Italy and want to marry,” a statement many theologians and biblical scholars would find untenable.
Presbyterian scholar Dr. Robert Gagnon is the author of perhaps the most authoritative and exhaustive treatment on the topic, titled “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics,” which has been praised as “the best single treatment of the issue” by other scholars.
According to Gagnon, the Bible clearly teaches that “same-sex intercourse is intrinsically sinful,” regardless of the cultural context in which it occurs. Scripture, he writes, regards the violation of the man-woman prerequisite for sexual relations as “the ultimate sacrilege against God’s design of male and female.”
Gagnon told Breitbart News that Father Charamsa “is either clueless or dishonest about what Scripture says about homosexual practice,” since the Bible never limits its condemnation of homosexual acts “to persons who are heterosexually oriented or engaged in exploitative acts.”
The theologian said that Charamsa’s remarks amounted to “misinformation” which seemed “a projection of his self-serving ideology onto the biblical text.”
Meanwhile, the bishops gathered for the Vatican synod seem unruffled by the Charamsa case.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, distanced the synod discussions from Charamsa’s provocations. “They are separate issues,” he said, noting that the prelates taking part in the Synod agree that “the Vatican assembly is entirely separate from the media scandal” surrounding Father Charamsa.
Another cardinal pointed out that the Synod “will not be thrown off-track by attempts to kick up smoke, or by traps and dramatic scenes: now is the time of grace and mercy and of the Church going forward.” A priest’s coming out, he said, does not harm this “truly historic moment.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome