"I am gay. Or, better, I am a happily gay priest," Don Mario Bonfanti is quoted as saying in the posting on National Coming Out Day. "Truth makes us free, so Jesus said. But, strangely, the Church denies this sentence. Catholic LGBT people must come out. They have to accept the truth," Bonfanti added.
Gay Star News reports that Bonfanti was banned from a parish in Lombardy last March for his support of same-sex unions. The community there defended the priest, but that didn't stop the bishop from moving him to another church, the report states.
Meanwhile, a new Facebook group, Io sto con don Mario, (I support Don Mario) has been launched and now has more than 1,500 members.
The news comes on the heels of a Seattle Post–Intelligencer report that 63 former Catholic priests in Washington State plan to back Referendum 74, which would make Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. In February, Washington's Catholic governor, Christine Gregoire, signed a same-sex marriage measure into law that is being challenged by gay marriage foes who amassed enough signatures to force a voter referendum in the November election.
The stand of the 63 ex-priests is a counterpoint to the efforts of the state's Catholic bishops, who have ramped up their campaign of statements and videos urging the faithful to vote against gay marriage, the Intelligencer says.
"We are uneasy with the aggressive efforts of Catholic bishops to oppose R-74 and want to support the 71 percent of Catholics (Public Religion Research Institute) who support civil marriage for gays as a valid Catholic position,” the ex-priests say in a statement.
On the east coast, Newark Archbishop John J Myers has also been advising Catholics who disagree with Church teachings on marriage to "refrain from receiving Holy Communion."
Landing image: queerty.com