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Catholic Priest Comes Out to Standing Ovation From Congregation

Gregory Greiten

Rev. Gregory Greiten, who ministers in Milwaukee, was "weary" of hiding his gay identity.


A Catholic priest received the blessing of his congregation after coming out.

"I am Greg. I am a Roman Catholic priest. And, yes, I am gay!" Rev. Gregory Greiten declared Sunday to worshippers at the St. Bernadette Parish in Milwaukee. His flock gave him a standing ovation, reports USA Today.

On Monday, Greiten then announced his sexual orientation to the world in a column for National Catholic Reporter. He did so because he was "weary with holding it in."

"For years now, I have been carrying a heavy burden, a secret cloaked in silence that the leaders of my church have not wanted me to share publicly. Each time I had a great desire to speak out I was challenged by other priests and leaders," said Greiten, who has kept his sexual orientation a secret since he was in seminary at age 24. Catholic priests are required to take a vow of celibacy, and it is rare for them to come out as gay.

In coming out, Greiten hopes to challenge a "toxic" culture within the Catholic Church, which still preaches that acting on same-sex attraction is a sin.

"By choosing to enforce silence, the institutional church pretends that gay priests and religious do not really exist. Because of this, there are no authentic role models of healthy, well-balanced, gay, celibate priests to be an example for those, young and old, who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation," he wrote. "This only perpetuates the toxic shaming and systemic secrecy."

"Today, I stand with these few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity," he added.

Greiten reportedly met with his region's archbishop, the Most Rev. Jerome Listecki, before coming out. Listecki has the power to penalize the gay priest -- although a recent statement expressed support.

"We support Father Greiten in his own, personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation," Listecki said. "As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion. As priests who have made a promise to celibacy, we know that every week there are people in our pews who struggle with the question of homosexuality."

"Greg's own story reminds each of us of God's call to continue to grow in understanding and to live holy, chaste lives," Listecki added.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.