A Milwaukee priest came out to his congregation last Sunday and to the world on Monday in an article published in the National Catholic Reporter.
When Father Greg Greiten came out half through his homily at St. Bernadette Parish church, the congregation responded with applause.
Greiten received a standing ovation from his congregation when he said that he would “no longer live in the shadow of secrecy.”
A Catholic priest on Sunday told his congregation: “I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!” Father Gregory Greiten in the Milwaukee Archdiocese oversees the St Bernadette Parish came out on Sunday to his congregation and then on Monday to the world.
— Jhawn Paul (@PinkSheepNews) December 19, 2017
Following the mass, parishioner Madge Powell said: “I could care less. I love him for the person he is.”
Margaret Thorn, chair of the parish festival committee, said the fact that Greiten is gay “doesn’t matter.”
Shawn Govern, who doesn’t support same-sex marriage, was nonetheless impressed by Greiten’s honesty.
“He made a choice to walk in Christ’s shoes,” said Govern, “because he’s not going to be accepted by everyone.”
In his article, Greiten writes:
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.
I am gay.
Since my days in high school seminary in the 1980s, I was taught that homosexuality was something disordered, unspeakable and something to be punished. Friends with “particular friendships” were immediately removed from the school due to “family problems”…
Because of the culture of shame and secrecy around issues of sexuality in the seminary environment, students lived in fear and felt threatened to remain silent. It was evident that the leadership wanted everything to be swept under the carpet and to ensure that nothing would ever be leaked out. It was in this secretive environment that I grew up.
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.
Welcoming Greiten’s decision, lapsed Catholic Drew Prusko, who attended the mass at St. Bernadette with his husband, said: “If I had known a priest that shared what he did today, maybe my spiritual development would have been different.”