Priest renounces Catholic faith while pointing out glaringly obvious about same-sex love and the Bible
Andrés Gioeni, 49, was ordained a priest in 2000 – however, he was barred from exercising a priestly ministry in 2003 after he appeared nude on the cover of a gay magazine.
Gioeni severed ties with the Catholic Church after the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith ruled that LGBT+ couples must not be given blessings as doing so would be against the will of God.
In a letter to the bishopric in Buenos Aires, Gioeni said: “I do not want to continue being an accomplice to this institution, because I realise the harm they are doing to people. I am not renouncing my faith in God but rather I am renouncing a role and a rite.”
Gioeni – who lives with his husband Luis larocci and their three dogs – told the Associated Press that there is no biblical justification for the Vatican’s stance on LGBT+ marriage.
“There is no mention in any book (of the Bible) of consensual love between two people of the same sex and God telling them no,” Gioeni said.
The former priest said he has blessed four same-sex unions, but the Vatican’s statement means he can no longer justify being part of the church.
Gay priest treated like a ‘defective’ by Catholic Church
Gioeni reflected on his own journey to self-acceptance, and spoke out about the Catholic Church’s mistreatment of him as he came to terms with his sexuality.
He said he was treated like “the Hunchback of Notre Dame” when church officials found out that he was gay.
Gioeni said he was made to feel like “a defective… who could not go out into the world because he would be criticised and singled out”.
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While he retains his faith in God, Gioeni said he no longer feels that he is part of a religious denomination.
“I continue believing in God and He will be my God,” Gioeni said. “In that, my spirituality is unchanged. I no longer have a label. ‘What religion are you?’ I believe in God.”
The Catholic Church has faced strident backlash from the LGBT+ community since it released its guidance around blessings for same-sex couples last week.
New Ways Ministry, an organisation that advocates for LGBT+ justice and inclusion within the Catholic Church, described the ruling as “disappointing” and said it will “actually encourage Catholics in the pews and the many Catholic leaders who are eager for such blessings to happen to work harder in their support – and blessing – of same-sex couples.”
Leading Jesuit priest James Martin later said the Catholic Church is facing a mass walkout, with huge numbers of people furious and heartbroken at the needless policy.