Gay Amsterdam priest successfully appeals against dismissal

Homosexual priest Pierre Valkering successfully appealed in Rome against his dismissal as priest of the Amsterdam Vredeskerk, he said on radio program Dit is De Dag, The Congregation for the Clergy, the Vatican department that deals with priest issues, ruled that his dismissal was unjustified because of procedural errors, NOS reports.

According to the ruling, it was unclear exactly what Valkering had done wrong, the evidence against him was insufficient, and he was not questioned or given the opportunity to give his side of the story. The decree by the diocese of Haarlem must therefore be repealed. 

Valkering came out during a Mass in the Vredeskerk in March. The diocese immediately demanded Valkering's resignation, saying that he must step down because he broke his vow of celibacy. Three months later, he was dismissed.

The Amsterdam priest is still considering whether he wants to return to the Vredeskerk, he said. "I have to make a decision about it before Christmas, so I am currently thinking about it. Apparently there are people who have big problems with me and they think I should go to the sidelines for a while."

He is leaning towards continuing as a priest so that he can keep fighting the culture of silence in the church around homosexuality, according to NOS. "Because I still believe in God and in the church, in spite of everything. I long for the church to regain its wings, for people to be happy with it. It is then important that we treat gay people in a more humane way and especially to not keep silent about it."