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“The Error and Injustice Was My Church”: Ex-Priest Discusses LGBTQ+ Rights and the Catholic Church

Theologian and former priest Krzysztof Charamsa visited Boston College—exactly eight years after the Vatican fired him following a public announcement where he came out as gay—to deliver a lecture on the relationship between Judeo-Christianity and LGBTQ+ rights. 

“There are some objective reasons for this special focus, not only because I am a Catholic theologian, so I am at home, but because the Catholic Magisterium is the most impressive corpus doctrine against homosexuality,” Charamsa said.

The Heinz Bluhm Memorial Lecture Series welcomed Charamsa on Oct. 3 to discuss the lack of change surrounding LGBTQ+ issues in the Catholic Church following the 1969 Stonewall uprising

“There is no other confessional religion with such a large collection of doctrinal statements, of laws, composed to be an authoritative expression of the church’s beliefs regarding homosexuality,” Charamsa said.  

Charamsa said Stonewall itself might not have created change, but people’s reaction to Stonewall created community and a political movement for LGBTQ+ rights. 

“This event has become, in conscience, that we can fight back for dignity, identity, and rights,” Charamsa said. 

Sexual orientation is “an inner permanent and essential,” which means an immutable, enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attraction to a person of the opposite sex, according to Charamsa. 

“Catholicism doesn’t want to accept this definition,” Charamsa said. 

Charamsa pointed toward the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a reference book that summarizes the Catholic Church’s doctrine, where he said there is a passage revolving around homosexuality that is false in every way—from the scientific to the theological point of view. 

“This is the problem of sexual morality in the Catholic teaching,” Charamsa said. “We reduce the person as a sexual subject to sexual activities.” 

During the Q&A session of the event, some audience members visibly held back laughs and put hands to their mouths as two attendees, who identified themselves as Orthodox Christians, asked Charamsa questions. 

“If you have such an issue with the Catholic Church, why wouldn’t you go form your own church where there will be other stuff that you support?” one attendee asked. 

The second attendee added onto the previous question, saying that they “agreed with their brother in Christ about their holy traditions.”

“Should we begin to question other ideas of morality like the Ten Commandments?” the attendee said. “Should we be called to question?” 

The two attendees declined to comment to The Heights.

Megan Day, a student who attended the talk and MCAS ’24, said she became quickly annoyed with these attendees during the Q&A portion.

“There were questions that could have been asked about the actual topic of what the church is doing and how changes occur in the church that aren’t just ‘Do you think that transubstantiation should go away?’” Day said.

Day said that as an LGBTQ-identifying Christian, hearing from Charamsa on how the Catholic Church interacts with sexuality matters. 

“Despite the fact that I’m not Catholic, the implications of the Catholic Church are global,” Day said. “So understanding kind of where the Catholic Church changes and how it grows, and how it can change and grow, is vital.” 

October 9, 2023