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Milwaukee priest comes out to congregation

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A Milwaukee priest made a shocking announcement during Mass on Sunday announcing to the congregation that he is gay.

Father Greiten has been the priest at St. Bernadette’s for six and a half years. On Sunday, he surprised his parishioners by coming out.

“I am choosing in my life to not live in secrecy and in the shadows of secrecy that I am a gay priest and a celibate priest.”

Father Greiten came out to his mother at 24, but knowing he wanted to be a priest, he stayed in the closet.

“I literally was in a window and I wanted to jump out of the fifth floor of a building into the concrete below. That was the absolute low point,” said Father Greiten.

Now in his fifties and a mentor to many others dealing with sexual abuse and orientation issues, he decided to let go.

“Members of the gay community have said to me ‘you do not know how long I have longed to hear this from a priest,’” says Father Greiten.

The priest said he received a standing ovation when he made his announcement.

“I love this community and what I learned is they love me,” said Father Greiten.

“I admire him greatly for being true to himself and true to God,” said parishioner Nancy Kornfield.

“He’s kind, caring, and compassionate and his sexual orientation makes no difference,” said Margaret Thorn, another parishioner.

He hopes his honesty inspires dialogue and says while he knows everyone won’t agree with how he’s living his life, at least he’s finally living it.

“I feel freer in my life today than I certainly have felt in the many years prior. If we can bring that kind of honesty and integrity into the lives of others, my coming out story was well worth it,” says Father Greiten.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki also supported Father Greiten saying in part,

“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.”

 

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