NBC has the story of one of the sources of that article and how he came out to his parish.The closet of the Roman Catholic Church hinges on an impossible contradiction. For years, church leaders have driven gay congregants away in shame and insisted that “homosexual tendencies” are “disordered.” And yet, thousands of the church’s priests are gay.
Fewer than about 10 priests in the United States have dared to come out publicly. But gay men probably make up at least 30 to 40 percent of the American Catholic clergy, according to dozens of estimates from gay priests themselves and researchers. Some priests say the number is closer to 75 percent. One priest in Wisconsin said he assumed every priest was gay unless he knows for a fact he is not. A priest in Florida put it this way: “A third are gay, a third are straight and a third don’t know what the hell they are.”
The stories describe poignantly the painful accounts of priests who feel they must live a lie. It might seem callous then for me, who is neither Roman Catholic nor gay, to challenge the whole idea of coming out. But that is what I am doing. I challenge the idea that a priest or anyone's first duty is to be authentic according to their sexual desire. I challenge the idea that sexual desire is primary or even among the most important things that define people. I certainly challenge the idea that it is so for one who claims to be Christian, much less for one who claims to be Christian within a church that listens to the voice of Scripture in defining this as disordered desire unsanctioned by God. Honestly, it would be better for those who feel compelled to come out to resign from the priesthood instead of presuming that it is possible to come out while living faithfully the vocation of the priesthood."I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!" A Roman Catholic priest in Milwaukee has come out as gay, writing that he will no longer live in the shadows of secrecy and plans to be authentic to his gay self.The Rev. Gregory Greiten first disclosed his sexual orientation publicly on Sunday to the St. Bernadette Parish and was greeted with a standing ovation from his parishioners, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. He also wrote a column that was published Monday in the National Catholic Reporter.
Fr. 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." In other words, this is not about coming out at all but about a radical transformation of the ethical imperatives and moral identity shaped by Scripture and expressed in nearly 2,000 years of unbroken witness. Fr. Greiten is not simply in search of honesty or integrity but wants orthodox Christianity to change -- to radically change -- its doctrine and piety. That is why coming out as a Roman Catholic priest is not freedom but simply the shifting of the burden of fidelity from the priest to those in his care. Fr. Greiten and those like him are not searching for understanding but acceptance, not for love but for the approval of a desire the CCC says is disordered and the practice sinful. He says he feels like a new person for coming out. Would that he felt like a new person because of the gift of a new identity in baptism, of a new direction for piety shaped not by the glorification of desire but by its self-control. Could it be that Fr. Greiten and those like him are not looking to have their identity transformed but approved by a God whose job it is to make them feel good about themselves and their desires more than make them new people, created with new hearts, and with a love and desire to keep the will of the Lord according to His commandments? If a priest is striving to live a holy life, he needs to get on with his priesthood and stop complaining about a God and a church that does not sanction his desire over his baptismal identity and priestly calling. Finally, that priest needs to stop rubbing his plight in people’s faces and making it their problem instead of his. If he cannot do this, he must resign.
This has become local since the Roman Catholic parish down the road heard its pastor announce to the congregation he was gay but closeted no more. His past and current bishops knew but did nothing. It has scandalized the parish -- Roman Catholics, though the largest congregation in town, try not to be too conspicuous in a city well within the Bible Belt. What’s the big fuss about Fr. Wolf? Maybe it’s his vanity-press booklet “Gay Respect in the Good News.” Maybe it’s his association with dissenting Catholic groups like New Ways Ministry. Fortunate Families, and Equally Blessed, or with other non-Catholic groups like “PFLAG” and the active LGBT agenda-pushers in the heart of the Bible-Belt community of Clarksville. Maybe it’s the fact that, despite claiming to a parishioner that he thinks he was “born gay,” it wasn’t until he “discovered” he was “gay” at age 33 that Wolf decided to enter the seminary. Maybe it’s the fact that Wolf led a retreat for self-identifying “gay” clergy in 2017, ironically titled “Following Jesus in Holy Honesty.”
No priest should announce he is gay or straight or anything in between or several identities simultaneously. This is not supposed to be what defines us and God has not saved us in order to glorify our desires but to reshape them so that they may be for Him. This is not about repressing desire but reordering it, not about hiding sexual identity but transcending it, and not about seeking to live first in accord with desire but first in accord with Christ and the new life of His kingdom. How can a priest who does not get this help the people in his care to do this in their daily lives? What is it that St. Paul is directing us to when he calls upon us to live upright and self-controlled lives?
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.The world will surely not get it but those within the household of faith ought to and surely one who is ordained and set apart to be priest and pastor to the people of God should be expected to get it. I have no doubt that a person who has homosexual desires can serve faithfully by controlling those desires and putting baptismal identity and priestly calling over and above them. This is not the path of the world but it is and has always been the path of life within orthodox Christianity. Yes, I know, we Lutherans have other issues with the priesthood (such as the requirement to be celibate) but in this instance, we stand together in saying that disordered desires should not be celebrated as gifts of God nor should the burden of living with them (or without them) be dumped upon the faithful in the pews. We have a higher identity and calling than the glorification of desire (whatever that desire is) and everyone, single or married, is to live pure and chaste lives within their calling. We do not give an out to straight people who come to find marriage a burden or who have tired of the one to whom they promised faithfulness before God and His church and we do not give to those outside of marriage a choice on how to fulfill sexual desire with impunity. This is not about us. It is about the Lord, about His Word, and about the shape of new hearts created in Christ Jesus not for self but for Him. On this Lutherans and Roman Catholics ought to agree.