"I have to say who I am," Krzysztof Charamsa told a Polish newspaper Saturday. "I am a happy and proud gay priest." Reuters reports that admission, also made to an Italian newspaper, cost the 43-year-old monsignor his position at the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, where he had worked since 2003. According to the AP, Charamsa was motivated to come out after getting hate mail for publicly criticizing an anti-gay Polish priest. "This is a very personal, difficult, and tough decision in the Catholic church's homophobic world," he says. Immediately following his announcement—he held a press conference at a Rome restaurant—Charamsa was fired by the Vatican.
The Vatican claims it didn't fire Charamsa for being gay—which in itself isn't a sin—but for making his announcement immediately before international bishops were set to meet as part of a synod to discuss outreach to gay Catholics, Reuters reports. "The decision to make such a pointed statement on the eve of the opening of the synod appears very serious and irresponsible, since it aims to subject the synod assembly to undue media pressure," a Vatican spokesperson says. Charamsa—who also announced he had a boyfriend, which would be a sin—is still a priest, though that could change, according to the AP. "It's time for the Church to open its eyes about gay Catholics and to understand that the solution it proposes to them—total abstinence from a life of love—is inhuman," Reuters quotes Charamsa as saying. (Read more Vatican stories.)