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!’ “