The openly gay priest, Pierre Valkering, has been fired by the Haarlem District. The 57-year-old came out of the closet just before April during a Mass ceremony in the ‘Vredeskerk’ of Amsterdam, he was ‘suspended’ since then.
Valkering says the decision does not surprise him and although saddened by it, he is currently undecided whether he will oppose it:
“I will leave it to rest until after my vacation. My life has been turned upside down enough and it is nice to be able to take some distance.”
The parishioners of the “Vredeskerk” heard the news about the dismissal yesterday from the district board.
The “pink” elephant in the church
In his jubilee mass speech that led to his dismissal, Valkering referenced “the big pink elephant” that exists in the Catholic Church. The idiom intended to draw attention to the silent culture about homosexuality.
Valkering also presented his biography during the service, in which he describes his life as homosexual and reveals he has not led a celibate life. The church ordered Valkering to be removed from his position at the end of the service. We’re unsure if this is because he was openly gay/not living in celibacy, or because he tried to pitch his book (with some negative stories about the church) during the service. NOS also reports that Valkering has also visited dark rooms in the past and was ‘addicted’ to watching porn.
Probably a combination of it all, but wasn’t the church there to help ‘sinners’ and such? Ah well…