The Vatican announced Saturday the dismissal of a Polish priest who came out as gay and having a partner and protested against the Catholic Church's teachings against homosexuality.
The 43-year-old priest, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, had been working as a theologian at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal arm, for more than a decade, according to Reuters. He also taught theology at pontifical universities in Rome.
The decision to sack the priest, which comes on the eve of a major synod of bishops on the family to address issues including homosexuality, was made after Charamsa told media that he was gay and had a Spanish male partner – in violation of the Church's teachings on homosexuality as well as his vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest.
After the media interviews, the priest held a news conference along with his partner and gay activists at a restaurant in Rome. Initially, they were planning to hold a demonstration at the Vatican but later changed the venue.
"My decision to 'come out' is a very personal decision in the homophobic world of the Catholic Church. It has been very difficult and very hard," Charamsa said, according to Euro News. "I ask that you keep in mind this reality that is difficult to understand for anyone who has not lived through an identical passage in their own life."
The priest added that he intended to make "an enormous noise for the good of the Church" by creating "good Christian pressure" on the synod not to forget homosexual believers.
The Vatican said his sacking was not due to his personal life, which "merit respect." It was because of his media interviews and the demonstration he had planned, which was "grave and irresponsible."
The Vatican saw the planned protest as an attempt to subject the synod to "undue media pressure."
"I ask the pope to be strong and to remember us, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals and bisexuals as children of the Church and members of humanity," Charamsa was quoted as saying.
During his recent visit to the U.S., Pope Francis privately met with a gay couple at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, and also met Christian clerk Kim Davis, who spend six days in jail for not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of a Supreme Court order legalizing gay marriage across the United States.