Claiming he no longer wants to live in the shadows of secrecy, Rev. Gregory Greiten has come out as gay.
The Roman Catholic priest in Milwaukee plans to be authentic to his gay self, according to his written statement to the National Catholic Reporter. He revealed his true sexuality to the St. Bernadette Parish of Wisconsin on Sunday and was greeted with a standing ovation from his parishioners.
“I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” Greiten wrote. “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.”
He further wrote that he has decided to stand 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.”
Greiten said he revealed his sexual orientation so openly because he wants to be a role model for others like him. He said he wants to break the silence of gay men in the clergy so others can reclaim their own voice like he has.
The church’s silent stance on gay priests perpetuates toxic shaming and systematic secrecy, Greiten claims in his statement, which was published Monday. The church needs healthy role models to represent priests who might be afraid to be open with their sexual orientation, he said.
Before coming out, Greiten met with Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, who voiced his own statement on the matter:
“We support Father Greiten in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation. As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.”
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