Gary Meier, Openly Gay St. Louis Priest, Reacts to Pope Francis' Remarks on Homosexuality
When Daily RFT reached Father Gary Meier yesterday afternoon he was waiting for a car service to pick him up and take him to a television studio for a satellite interview with CNN.
via KSDK Father Gary Meier
"I don't like the cars," he grumbled, saying he prefers to drive himself.
Meier has been inundated with interview requests ever since Pope Francis gave a surprising response to reporters who asked him, essentially, what his views are on homosexual priests.
"If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" the Holy Father answered in Italian.
As one of only a handful of priests to come out as openly gay, Meier has become a kind of de facto spokesman for the gay clergy, and news outlets from around the country (including this one) have been eager to hear his thoughts.
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Earlier this spring, Meier revealed himself to be the author of a 2011 book called Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest. It was previously published under the name "Anonymous." Meier left his parish at Saints Teresa & Bridget Parish in north St. Louis a year ago to attend University of Missouri-St. Louis full time, but also because he says he could no longer abide by the church's anti-gay teachings. Today he is a licensed social worker with a private practice and runs the website Rising Voices, a place for LGBT-friendly Catholics.
Here is video of Pope Francis making the remark on the papal plane back from a visit to Brazil.
"I am surprised. I'm optimistic," Meier says of the remarks. "What a great thing to hear something other than outright anti-gay, hostile statements."
Meier notes that, although a welcome shift in tone from his predecessor, the Pope's statements are not exactly a statement of welcome to lesbian, gay and transgender clergy or parishioners. And Pope Francis has a backlog of very unfriendly comments about gays, especially when he lobbied against a law in his native Argentina legalizing gay marriage. He called the practice of gay parents being allowed to adopt "discrimination against children." (Here's Salon's list of the five worst quotes Pope Francis gave about homosexuality.)
"We're a long ways away from saying homosexuality is a gift and not a cross," says Meier. "My hope is that we can start having the conversation. Let's have the conversation. Let's talk about it. Wouldn't it be great if more gay priests came out?"
Father Meier also e-mailed Daily RFT a lengthier statement of his thoughts. Check it out after the jump.