On Saturday last, Msgr Krzyxtof Charamsa came out and announced not only he is gay but also that he has a devoted boyfriend – and was promptly fired from his jobs as a Vatican theology professor and senior theologian with the CDF. (He later said in a follow -up interview, that his coming out was a “profoundly Christian” act.
Yesterday, just two days later, another priest was fired, this time in Chicago, for “an inappropriate relationship with a man”. It’s widely known that the priesthood includes an extraordinarily high percentage of gay men. We should expect that more and more of them will begin to come out, voluntarily or otherwise. The Church simply cannot afford to fire them all – or the existing shortage of priests will just become even more acute.
Then, on Monday, the Archdiocese of Chicagoannounced that Marco Mercado, who oversaw the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, has been removed from his position because of “an inappropriate relationship with an adult man.” In this case, the priest was remorseful, not defiant. “I apologize if this scandal has caused any hardship to the faithful,” Mercado said in a statement, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Under any circumstances, these would be remarkable firings. But the timing is significant: This weekend, Roman Catholic bishops gathered in Rome to kick off their synod on so-called family issues, the continuation of a meeting that began last fall. Among the subjects possibly on the docket: the Church’s posture toward gay Catholics.