Pope Francis has confirmed that this Dutch priest deserved to be defrocked after he revealed he was gay in an autobiography, where he opened up on his addiction to porn and his homosexual encounters.
Priest Pierre Valkering was removed from his post at Amsterdam’s Peace Church and suspended from the priesthood last year after he revealed he was gay in his autobiography.
In the book, Valkering openly talked about his homosexuality, writing about sexual experiences with men and his addiction to porn.
He revealed he had previously been in a sexual relationship with a man named Jasper and had frequented gay saunas. The priest said he had been addicted to watching porn on the internet but after finishing the book this has stopped, adding: ” I gave my laptop to my roommate and it was over.”
After its release, bishop Jos Punt of the Haarlem-Amsterdam diocese announced that Valkering would be removed from his post as he “did not, cannot and will not keep his promise of celibacy”.
Valkering appealed against the decision, saying he felt celibacy meant “more than just abstinence,” and adding that he sees celibacy as a process of growth which his book was a record of.
The priest said he did not see homosexuality as a sin, saying instead that failure to develop the God-given talent of loving and being loved is worse.
He took his appeal to the highest Catholic powers, claiming there had been errors in the forms of his dismissal.
However, Pope Francis has now ruled in favour of the decision to defrock him. Valkering himself is yet to release a statement on the pope’s decision and Jan Hendricks, who succeeded Jos Punt as bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam on 1st June, said he “would like to express his respect and appreciation for the qualities of Pierre Valkering as a person and as a priest”.
He added that he hoped Valkering “can again work as a priest in a different place than the Peace Church” after “a period of reflection and guidance”.
The Catholic Church considers sexual activity between members of the same sex to be a sin.
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