A Roman Catholic priest in Wisconsin says he feels “liberated” after coming out to his church ― and the world ― as a gay man.
The Rev. Gregory Greiten, who serves as the pastor of Milwaukee’s St. Bernadette Parish, received a standing ovation when he opened up about his sexuality to his parishioners this past Sunday.
“I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest,” he reportedly told the congregation. “And, yes, I am gay!”
Greiten further detailed his journey toward self-acceptance in a lengthy column published in the National Catholic Reporter on Monday.
“A few Roman Catholic priests around the world have mustered up the courage to break through the wall of silence and speak the truth about their sexual identity,” he wrote. “I pledge to you that I will no longer live my life in the shadows of secrecy. I promise to be my authentically gay self. I will embrace the person that God created me to be.”
This fire burning deep inside my heart, I will no longer contain. I will not be silent any longer; the price to pay is way too great. I must speak my truth. 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.
Greiten, of course, is not alone. Although most surveys are based on limited samples due to the sensitivity of the issue, more recent estimates have put the share of Catholic priests in the U.S. identifying as gay between 15 percent and 50 percent.
Despite the applause Greiten received Sunday, churchgoers seemed divided over the implications of his announcement.
Madge Powell, a parishioner at St. Bernadette’s for eight years, told the National Catholic Reporter that she couldn’t care less about Greiten’s sexuality. “I love him for the person he is,” she said.
Shawn Govern, who is opposed to same-sex marriage, took a more tentative stance. “He made a choice to walk in Christ’s shoes,” Govern said, “because he’s not going to be accepted by everyone.”
For his part, Greiten said his decision to come out was very much a personal choice.
“The difference for me now is I get to live a life that’s open,” he told local NBC affiliate TMJ 4. “It is honest and it’s full of integrity, and that’s what’s most important to me.”
Whether Greiten will face any church-based repercussions will depend on Milwaukee’s Archbishop Jerome Listecki. In a statement released to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday, Listecki seemed supportive of Greiten’s announcement and confirmed that the two had met beforehand.
“We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” Listecki wrote.
“As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion,” he added. “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.”
EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.
South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.
Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.
The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.
Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.
And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.
Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.
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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.
In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.
‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.
He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.
‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”
For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.
Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.
The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.
Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.
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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.
South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.