The Polish priest who declared his homosexuality on the eve of the Synod on the Family, Fr. Krysztof Charamsa, has been laicized. Bishop Ryszard Kasyno, bishop of Pelplin (Poland), sent a letter to Fr. Charamsa on Wednesday, October 21, notifying him that he may no longer celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments or wear a cassock.
The action against Fr. Charamsa comes as no surprise, considering the priest’s carefully executed attack on the Church he served. Charamsa, who held a press conference October 2 with his boyfriend and announced their love relationship, had apparently been planning to disrupt the Synod with his “coming out.” He presented a 10-point “liberation manifesto” against “institutionalized homophobia in the Church” and announced the upcoming publication of a book detailing his twelve years at the heart of the Vatican bureaucracy.
He was immediately fired by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he had worked as a senior official; but it took just a little longer to complete the investigation which resulted in his removal from priestly service.
While no longer permitted to exercise his priestly ministry, Charamsa remains an ordained Catholic priest. Inasmuch as the sacrament of Holy Orders imparts a permanent mark upon the soul of the person who receives the sacramental graces, Charamsa is a priest forever.
The bishop, however, has full authority to determine whether Charamsa will be permitted to serve; and after his public rebellion against his vow of celibacy, Bishop Kasyno took action. “This penalty,” Bishop Kasyno said,
“…is intended to encourage Father Charamsa to mend his ways and can be rescinded, depending on his behavior.”
Any repentance is not expected anytime soon, however. Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, called the priest’s statements “very serious and irresponsible.” And at the press conference at which he announced his decision, Charamsa said,
“I dedicate my coming out to all gay priests. I wish them happiness even if I know that most of them will not have the courage to make the gesture I have made today.
“To my Church, I want to say that I reject and I denounce the current atmosphere of exasperating homophobia. Open your eyes to the suffering of gay people, to their desire for love.”
It’s easy to roll your eyes and write Fr. Charamsa off as a heretic and an enemy of the Church. Instead, I encourage you to pray for our Church, which needs strong men in the vineyard. Pray for Fr. Charamsa and for his partner, even if they do not personally solicit that prayer. Pray that they will come to accept God’s will in their lives, and will return to service to Christ and His Church.
Pray that, by God’s grace, we will meet him in heaven.