Sunday, July 10, 2016

Krzysztof Charamsa Publishes Book Explaining Choice to Come Out as a Gay Priest: The First Stone: I, Gay Priest, and My Rebellion Against the Church’s Hypocrisy

As many of you will know, shortly before the Catholic Synod on the Family opened, a Polish priest, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, who worked in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, revealed that he was gay and has a partner, Eduard Planas. He was subsequently removed from his CDF position and defrocked. If you click on Krzysztof's name in the labels below, you'll find a series of postings telling his story, with links to statements he has made.

Recently, Rizzoli Books published a book, La prima pietra, by Krzysztof Charamsa in which he tells his story as a gay priest and explains why he has considered it important to come out of the closet. A reader of Bilgrimage, Mark O'Meara, has generously offered a translation of the publication notice (along with a biography of Krzysztof as it appears on the Rizzoli website). Mark and I are assuming that, since these materials are in the public domain at the Rizzoli website, it will not be inappropriate for this blog to circulate them.

What follows is Mark's translation of the description of La prima pietra and biography of Krzysztof from the Rizzoli page for the book. Mark has also ordered a copy of the book (which is in Italian) and has also generously offered to write a summary of it after he has read it.

Krzysztof Charamsa, The first stone. I, gay priest, and my rebellion against the Church’s hypocrisy. Rizzoli. Italian text. 30th June 2016. 336 pages. Hard-cover and Kindle versions. 

Biography of the author:

Born in Gdynia (Poland) in 1972, he has studied philosophy, theology and bioethics in Poland, Switzerland and Italy, prior to undertaking an important career at the highest levels of the Catholic Church as a member of the Vatican’s most important office: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the ex-Holy Office, ex-Holy Inquisition). He was second secretary in the International Theological Commission, the body which officially brings together the Church’s most authoritative theologians. Author of several books and articles, he has taught theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University and at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. All this, until the 3rd October 2015, the day of his coming-out, when he was automatically deprived of his duties. Today he lives happily with his partner Eduard Planas, and he dedicates himself to defending the human rights of women and of all LGBTIQ persons.

Description of the book:

The cornerstone is the first to be placed, when raising a building. It is the most important stone, the one that supports the whole edifice. For this reason, it cannot be any stone; it must be a stone that is sought and chosen carefully, by digging deeply. His coming out, in October 2015, was the first stone, the cornerstone in Krzysztof Charamsa’s life. At a high point in his career as a theologian working at the highest level in the Vatican, he has decided to denounce to the world the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, an institution which for centuries has used sexuality for the purpose of imposing its power over the people. It does it by spreading unhappiness in people, conditioning them so that they cannot with serenity live this fundamental dimenion of their existence. By means of precepts, doctrines and confessions, women are induced to submit themselves to their husbands, while homosexual persons are discriminated against, reduced to the condition of plague victims, reduced to nothing. All this is cloaked in a mantle of hypocrisy because, according to Charamsa, the Catholic clergy, although strongly homophobic, is itself composed largely of homosexuals. Whether repressed, whether imprisoned in secrecy — but either way bound by the unnatural commandment of celibacy — these men of the Church then go to work the fertile ground in which sprout the shameful weeds of pedophilia and other abuses. With 'The first stone', Chramasa intends to shake consciences and to lay the foundations for a renewal in the Catholic Church, an institution in which he wants to believe even today. A Church which, if it wishes to continue to exist as a spiritual guide — as Charmasa wrote, on the day of his coming out, in a letter to Pope Francis which is published here in full for the first time — must finally begin to respect every person in their own sexual orientation, must confront its teachings with what science tells us. The Catholic Church of the future.

Many good wishes to Krzysztof Charamsa on the launching of this very important book, and gratitude to Mark O'Meara for assisting those of us who don't read Italian in learning more about it!

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