Catholic Church

Roman Catholic Priest In Milwaukee Came Out As Gay To His Congregation

Rev. Gregory Greiten told his congregation this past Sunday, “I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!"

The priest serves the St. Bernadette Parish in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and after coming out to them he then came out the rest of the world through a column in the National Catholic Reporter.

In the article, Greiten says that even though there are somewhere between 8,554 and 21,571 gay Catholic priests in the United States (a number he got from "The Changing Face of the Priesthood"), many stay in the closet as the Church still considers homosexuality a sin.

In the article, he wrote:

"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."

Though the church does condemn homosexuality in its text, Greiten has been lucky enough to be graced with acceptance and love from those surrounding him.

Not only did he receive a standing ovation from his congregation when he came out, but even Milwaukee’s Archbishop Jerome Listecki is on his side.

In a statement made on Monday, Listecki expressed his support of Greiten.

"We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation.  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.”

Now, with the support of others, Gregory Greiten wishes to live and preach outside of the “shadows of secrecy.”

"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!' "

Gay Couples in Wisconsin Could Be Denied Catholic Church Funerals

A Catholic Vicar just said that families with gay loved ones and same-sex couple can be denied funerals by the Catholic church.

Vicar James Bartylla sent out a memo that focused on “Consideration of Funeral Rites for a Person in a Homosexual Civil or Notorious Union.” As you probably imagined, the memo was not good news for gay couples.

The memo stated that if one person in a gay couple died, the living partner:

“Should not have any public or prominent role at any ecclesiastical funeral rite or service… There should be no mention of the ’partner’ [quotes theirs] either by name or by other reference (nor reference to the unnatural union) in any liturgical booklet, prayer card, homily, sermon, talk by the priest, deacon, etc.”

In addition, there are several questions raised like whether either the deceased partner or the living one was “a promoter of the ’gay’ lifestyle” and “did the deceased give some signs of repentance before death?”

It also added that the Catholic church can’t show any support for gay couples thus a priest and/or his parish shouldn’t allow any public leaks of funerals involving gay couples connected to the church. (Essentially meaning, the Catholic church should not have any public connection to homosexuality).

The exact expert from the memo said:

“A great risk for scandal and confusion is for the name of the celebrating priest and/or the parish to be listed in any public (e.g., newspaper) or semi-public obituary or notice that also lists the predeceased or surviving “partner” in some manner.”

While this isn’t exact a rule within the Catholic church for all to follow, it will influence some parishes in the future.