-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0" : "width=1100"' name='viewport'/> Plum Street Chili: Letter to the Roman Catholic Church - Remember the last time this happened?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Letter to the Roman Catholic Church - Remember the last time this happened?

The following is the full text of a letter addressed to Pope Francis on Oct. 3 by Polish Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, a former Vatican official who publicly revealed that he’s gay and in a long-term relationship on the eve of a Synod of Bishops in Rome in which discussion of how the Church relates to gays and lesbians was expected to be a major topic of conversation. Crux translated the letter from Italian.

Holy Father, Dear Francis,

I have always loved the Church of Christ.

Today, as a baptized person, as a priest and a theologian who’s wanted to serve the Church with my entire life, I turn to you, my superior and pastor of this Church.

After a long and painful period of inner discernment and prayer, before God and with full consciousness of the gravity of the moment, I’ve made the decision to publicly refuse the violence of the Church with regard to people who are homosexual, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual and intersexual.

Being myself a man with a homosexual orientation, I can’t continue any more to tolerate the homophobic hatred of the Church – the exclusion, marginalization and stigmatization of people who, like me, are continually offended in their dignity and human rights, rights which are denied and struck down by this violent Church and its individual faithful.

Today I stand on the side of courageous homosexual people, who for centuries have been humiliated by the fanatical Church. I no longer accept a salvation that gratuitously excludes a part of humanity. We homosexuals don’t need the compassion that the Church promises us. We’re neither the enemies of the Church or of the family, which is the false and offensive image that Church has succeeding in creating about us. We desperately seek only to be respected in our dignity and our rights. If the Church is so obtuse, so incapable of reflection, so behind the times in terms of the conscience of humanity, as Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini put it so well, if it can’t come up with an adequate welcome for this innocent people, it should at least stop pressuring states and nations that want to respect the human right of homosexual people to a civil marriage.

[Note: Martini, a former Archbishop of Milan frequently mentioned during his lifetime as a papal candidate, died in 2012. In his final interview, Martini said he believed the Catholic Church was “200 years behind the times”.]

Let the Church focus on its own religious marriage and make its heterosexuals happy, who right now don’t seem all that happy behind the prison walls of the cold doctrinal rigidity of the Church! But stop spreading hate against those who want to live their own love in peace on this earth! A Church incapable of dialogue with humanity should be quiet, if it’s not capable of using reason!

I thank you for some of your words and gestures as pontiff with regard to some homosexual people. But your words will have value only and exclusively when all the violent and offensive declarations of the Holy Office about homosexual people are cancelled, as well as the obscene instruction of Benedict XVI that prohibits admission to the priesthood for homosexual people. In the meantime, the clergy, which is full of homosexuals and at the same violently homophobic, should be consistent with this diabolical instruction: All the gay cardinals, the gay bishops and gay priests – including fantastic gay priests, as they are – should have the courage to abandon a Church that’s inhuman, insensitive, unjust and violent.

[Note: The “Holy Office” is a reference to the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal watchdog agency, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The instruction under Pope Benedict XVI to which Charamsa refers appeared in 2005 and was issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education, which is responsible for supervising seminaries.]

I stand with homosexual people to be at their service and to help them wake up this dormant Church, which is Pharisaical and hypocritical, locked into its cold and inhuman doctrine without mercy or charity, a homophobic Church that knows only how to hate the other because he or she isn’t heterosexual. It knows how to persecute and destroy the loves of thousands of gays who are spiritual people, open to the transcendent and sensitive to the divine. They’re treated as excluded lepers by the Church, as if human beings choose their own sexual orientation, heterosexual or homosexual.

I stand with this people that’s oppressed and persecuted by the Church. I stand with that people as a Polish priest representing a particularly hateful Church, which is presently led by pastors without hearts or brains, for whom one can only ask forgiveness and show the proper compassion. Some of them are with you in the synod, with their language of hate lacking any human sensitivity, interested only in how to pressure democratic governments and get them to submit, how to steal more and more from the common good, and how to deny fundamental rights to free people.

I’ve lived a long period of discernment and inner struggle in order to reach the full awareness that I will no longer accept this hatred of exclusion: If the salvation the Church has to offer does not respect the nature of homosexual people, I refuse that salvation. I refuse it in the name of God, who created us and loves us as we are.

I reflected a long time about this decision, in part because I know how violent the Church is toward anyone who leaves it. I’m afraid of how violent the Church could be towards my family, which has no responsibility at all for my decision. I’m especially worried for my mother, a woman of unbreakable faith, who’s not to blame for my decisions. I know the risks she runs in this violent and uncaring Church, to which she’s unreservedly dedicated her entire life. Catholics can be people without hearts, without mercy, without any human feeling, following the logic of collective responsibility for individual decisions and destroying the lives of the innocent. In Poland, Catholics are true maestros of hatred, of stigmatization and exclusion of others, of homophobia. My mother does not deserve any offense from this inhuman Polish church!

“I want mercy from you, not sacrifices!” [Note: This is a quote from the Old Testament, Hosea 6:6]. God does not want human nature to be sacrificed. God respects the mystery of created human nature, yet the Church hates everything about human nature that’s different from its project of power and dominion over people and their sexuality. The church serves only the heterosexual part of humanity, and does not want to reflect calmly and rationally on the nature of homosexual people.

Holy Father, the challenge facing the Synod of Bishops, the major part of which is intellectually dormant and has never experienced the smell of the sheep, is not only the faithful who are divorced and remarried, but also those of us who are sexual minorities who have the right to live our love in dignity, a love which the Church is stubbornly killing. [Pope Francis has said he wants pastors who “carry the smell of their sheep,” meaning who are close to ordinary people.] We have the right to a family life, even if the Church doesn’t want to bless it. We exist and will continue to exist, even if the Church reduces us and keeps reducing us to nothing, as it still does with faithful who are divorced and happily remarried.

In order not to upset your happy journey of heterosexual salvation, which is different from us, many of those of us who are sexual minorities have already withdrawn from your Church. Absolutely do not pity us! Have pity only on yourselves, the hypocrites and Pharisees over whom you’re presiding in the synod. But please, have mercy! Have just a touch of mercy! Have mercy: At least leave us in peace, allowing civil states to make our life more human, while you with your Church have succeeded in making our lives as homosexuals and lesbians nothing but a Hell.

Your Church should only apologize and then keep quiet forever! Or, it should convert during its path in the synod and start to think about that part of the Church and of humanity made up of homosexual believers, whom you denigrate, offend and stigmatize, humiliating and excluding them as if they were lepers.

I pray for you, knowing that you’re a man of God, but I will do everything I can to help homosexual people wake the Catholic Church from its inhuman sleep, which by now has reached bestial limits of intolerability.


Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa

Adjunct Secretary of the International Theological Commission

Official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome

Rome, 3 October A.D., 2015

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