1. Other Catholic gay people might not like the way you’re being Catholic and gay. Many gay Catholics hated the way Charamsa came out, calling it too theatrical and also questioning its timing. The day he came out coincided with a huge meeting of gay Catholics in Rome, which was designed to address the church’s attitude toward gays and lesbians. Andrea Rubera, president of Nuova Proposta, an Italian group that’s part of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, says it took a year to put together the event and it was completely overshadowed by Charamsa’s coming out the way he did. Rubera stated that any positive shift that could’ve happened in the Catholic gay community was blocked by Charamsa’s bold move, calling it “a wall, not a bridge” to change.
2. Breaking your vow of chastity breaks multiple rules instead of just one. For heterosexual priests, breaking your vow of chastity simply breaks just that, but for homosexual priests, they not only break their vow of chastity, but they also break the rule against acting on homosexual desires. The church’s official policy on homosexuality is that the desires themselves aren’t sinful, but that gay people are meant to life lives of chastity, since they believe acting on homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and depraved.
3. You find there aren’t as many allies as you’d hope. Despite Pope Francis’s recent push for more gay people to be accepted in the community, Charamsa said that his Vatican office was constantly working to silence priests and bishops who were trying to include gay people, including Pope Francis, who Charamsa says was judged harshly by many in the office after the pope’s decision to be openly accepting of gays. He says Cardinal Gerhard Müller in particular had “only bad things” to say about the pope after his famous comments about not judging gays and lesbians.
4. Gay people will look at you like a hero. In his first appearance since coming out, Charamsa says that when he went to go speak at an event in Spain, he was stopped by gay men telling him how proud they were of him for not hiding.
5. They’ll only offer you your job back if you repent. Charamsa says that’s not even remotely an option for him though, saying that he’s now out of the closet and “not going back.”
6. Your struggle with self-hatred will be just as significant as it would be for anyone else, if not more so. Charamsa says that hearing the church calling homosexuality “intrinsic moral evil” lead to him hating himself and praying that God would “take away this illness.”
7. You’ll discover that there are secret meetings with other gay priests. Charamsa says that although he never attended one of them, he knew of regular social events with gay priests in Italy that while unofficial, definitely happened.
8. Your coworkers will openly make fun of gay people. Charamsa says that the only way anyone speaks about homosexuality in the church offices is via “jokes” and that it’s basically like hanging around a bunch of bros on a sports team.
9. If anyone thinks you might be gay, you won’t get promoted. Charamsa says he saw people who were barred from promotions simply because they were suspected of being gay.
10. After you come out, most of the world will turn against you and you will lose almost everything. Once he came out, he was evicted from his convent, the Vatican fired him, and his bishop suspended him so that he can no longer wear the Roman collar or celebrate mass.
11. It could also ruin your family members’ lives. Charamsa’s relatives were also punished by association when he came out; his brother’s children are now bullied at school, and his mother is being pressured to leave her church in Poland.
12. You’ll lose your job but still have the opportunity to do a lot of good. Charamsa was dismissed from the Vatican after he came out and now shares an apartment with his boyfriend Eduardo in Barcelona but has used this time to focus on exposing the Catholic Church’s homophobia.