Catholic priest comes out to congregation, receives standing ovation

By : MARIAH COOPER OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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A Roman Catholic priest in Milwaukee has come out as gay making him one of the few Catholic priests to publicly come out.

Rev. Gregory Greiten first told parishioners at St. Bernadette Parish on Sunday and received a standing ovation.

“I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay,” Greiten told his congregation.

Greiten went even more public when he shared his sexual orientation in a column for the National Catholic Reporter published on Monday.

“Today, I break the silence and emerge free from the shackles of shame placed upon me at a young age. There is so much to speak about, to repair and to heal — much beyond the limits of these words in print,” Greiten writes. “I am gay.”

“I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” Greiten adds. “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.

Grieten says he wanted to join the “few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”

“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,” Greiten writes.

The Archdiocese released a statement saying that it supports Greiten’s decision to publicly come out.

“As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion. Fr. Greg’s own story reminds each of us of God’s call to continue to grow in understanding and to live holy, chaste lives,” the statement reads.

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