Dutch priest who came out as gay fired by Catholic church

Dutch priest who came out as gay fired by Catholic church

Photo: Pierre Valkering, Facebook

Priest Pierre Valkering has been fired by his Catholic diocese after coming out as gay.

In a letter to parishioners on 8 July, the Amsterdam Peace Church revealed they let the priest go. Valkering, 57, was suspended earlier in the year after the priest came out during a mass in the Vredeskerk, Amsterdam.

However, the diocese states Valkering was ‘absolutely not’ fired because of his sexuality. They state it is because he did not abide by celibacy, which the priest revealed he violated in a book released on his 25th anniversary. The autobiography, Ontkleed niet naakt staan, speaks about visiting dark rooms and being addicted to pornography.

This means he is fired as a pastor of the Peace Church. He remains a priest.

Controversial book

Speaking to Dutch news organization NOS, Valkering said he did not know whether he would appeal the decision.

He said: ‘I will let it 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 book caused a stir in the Dutch Catholic church, particularly in relation to celibacy. In an interview with Gaykrant when he released the book, he said: ‘It is clear that with this book I am going on particularly slippery ice, or even a minefield.

‘Because it is largely about sex and about the priesthood and those are, certainly in combination with each other, great taboo subjects where the signals quickly turn red and the alarm bells start to ring.’

The church is yet to comment on the firing.

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