Alessandra Tarantino / AP

Defrocked priest decries Vatican treatment of gays

In a letter to Pope Francis, Krzysztof Charamsa says Catholic Church makes lives of gays 'a hell'

A Catholic priest who was fired and defrocked by the Vatican earlier this month for being in a homosexual relationship has sent a letter to Pope Francis, accusing the Holy See of ignoring the rights of gay clergy.

Krzysztof Charamsa said in the letter that the Roman Catholic Church makes the lives of gay Catholics “a hell” and that the clergy is “full of homosexuals,” the BBC reported Wednesday.

He also called on “all gay cardinals, gay bishops and gay priests [to] have the courage to abandon this insensitive, unfair and brutal Church.”

The Vatican had not issued a public response to the criticism at the time this article was published.

Charamsa, 43, came out as gay and criticized the Vatican for its approach to homosexuality on the eve of a major meeting of world bishops in Rome. The Vatican on Oct. 3 fired him from his job with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. His local bishop in Poland, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, called on him to return to proper priestly behavior.

Charamsa's home diocese of Pelplin, based in Gdansk, said on Wednesday that his punishment could be reversed if he returns to "true teachings of the church and Christ's priesthood."

"The penalty is intended to inspire in ... Charamsa a real improvement of life and it can be reversed. That depends, however, on the future comportment of the above mentioned priest," according to a statement posted on the diocese website.

In July 2013, Pope Francis famously replied, "Who am I to judge?" when asked about gay men serving in the clergy — garnering him praise from gay-rights groups. The Advocate, the largest gay interest magazine in the United States, went so far as to name him “Person of the Year.”

More recently, the pope encouraged parents to be accepting of their gay and lesbian children and met privately with a transgender man at the Vatican.

Still, Catholic doctrine maintains that homosexuality is a sin.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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