MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — A Roman Catholic priest in Wisconsin received a standing ovation this past Sunday after announcing during the service that he identifies as a homosexual.
“I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!”
declared Gregory Greiten of St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Milwaukee, causing those present to rise to their feet, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The National Catholic Reporter also published an article on Monday in which Greiten outlined how he repressed his feelings for years, and later came to embrace them, while also keeping them hidden from others.
“Over the past year, I came to the realization that I could no longer live the lie of masquerading as a straight man in the priesthood,” he wrote.
Greiten also expressed his view that the Roman Catholic Church should allow priests to be open about their same-sex attraction, while also remaining celibate. He referred to the matter as being “authentic” to one’s true self.
“Today, I stand with these few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity,” Greiten wrote.
“I promise to be my authentically gay self. I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” he stated. “In my priestly life and ministry, I, too, will help you, whether you are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered, to be your authentic self—to be fully alive living in your image and likeness of God. In reflecting our God-images out into the world, our world will be a brighter, more tolerant place.”
Greiten said that he believed that announcing his homosexual feelings was among the “[f]irst steps in accepting and loving the person God created me to be.”
“I am breaking through the silence and reclaiming my voice—silent words to prophetic words, despairing words to hopeful words, angry words to forgiving words, and sad words to joy-filled words, with the passion of the words attributed to a great woman saint and doctor of the church, St. Catherine of Siena, ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire,’ Greiten said.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki has backed Greiten’s decision to come out to his congregation.
“We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” he said in a statement. “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.”
As previously reported, Christians believe that homosexuality, like any other inclination that is contrary to the law of God, is a part of the Adamic sin nature that men are born with, leaving them helpless to change themselves.
The late preacher A.W. Pink once wrote, “Why does the sinner choose a life of sinful indulgence? Because he prefers it. Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore, before he will ever choose or prefer that which is divine or spiritual, a new nature must be imparted to him: in other words, he must be born again.”
Because of this inherent nature, Christ instructed that men must be regenerated by the second birth, outlining in John 3:5-7, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-17 also reads, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. … Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”