A Roman Catholic priest that is based in Milwaukee has come out as gay, writing that he refuses to live in the shadows of secrecy any longer and that he plans to be true to his gay self.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that on Sunday, Rev. Gregory Greiten revealed his sexual orientation to the St. Bernadette Parish and was welcomed with a standing ovation from his parishioners. He also authored a column that was published on Monday in the National Catholic Reporter.
It is unusual for a priest to come out. Greiten said that he disclosed his sexual orientation because he wishes to be a role model for others. He said that he is helping to break the silence of gay men in the clergy so that he could reclaim his own voice.
Greiten wrote: “I will embrace the person that God created me to be.
“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.”
Greiten also wrote that he has decided to stand together with the “few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”
The silent stance of the Church on gay priests continues toxic shaming and systematic secrecy, wrote Greiten. The church must have healthy role models for priests who are having a hard time to come to terms with their sexual orientation, said Greiten.
According to an archdiocese spokesperson, Greiten met with Jerome Listecki, the Archbishop of Milwaukee before coming out.
“We support Father Greiten in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” said Listecki in a statement that was released on Monday. “As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.”