The Roman Catholic priest fired last spring from Seton Hall University after posting a pro-LGBT message on Facebook says he would like Pope Francis to meet with LGBT Catholics when he visits the U.S. in September.
Noting that there will be many demands on the pope’s time, Rev. Warren Hall writes, “I ask that among all of these, that you find time to listen to the challenges faced by LGBT people, especially those who are Catholic and wish to remain a part of the Church they have grown up in, which they love, and yet which it seems is alienating them more and more.”
“Good teachers are being fired, pastoral and compassionate priests and religious women [nuns] are being silenced and accept it out of fear of being disciplined by their superiors, and good, faith-filled people are leaving the Church as they witness all of this happening,” he continues in the letter, dated July 14 and posted online by Religion News Service. “As a gay priest, I am personally experiencing all of these things.”
Hall says he was fired as director of campus ministry at Seton Hall, a Catholic school in New Jersey, for having posted a “No H8” meme on Facebook. The archbishop of Newark, he says, claimed the post raised questions about where he stood with regard to church teachings — an inaccurate interpretation, he says in the letter. Shortly after his firing, he came out as gay. He was told he would have a new assignment in the archdiocese, but he has not received one, and he ceased receiving a salary July 1, he told Religion News Service in an interview regarding the letter. He has been tapping into his savings and receiving financial support from friends.
Hall said he never planned to become an advocate for LGBT Catholics, but his situation led him into activism. “I am not a theologian. I am not a politician. But I am gay. So I think I have something to say at this moment in time,” he told the news service.
A lesbian teacher recently fired by a Philadelphia-area Catholic elementary school, also hopes, along with her wife, to meet with the pope.