After more than 30 years in front of the altar, priest José Nicolás Alessio was dismissed from the Catholic Church. He claims the cause for the dismissal was his public support for same-sex marriage. The Archdiocese of Córdoba informed its “faithful Catholics” yesterday that Alessio had been expelled, just a day after Uruguay became the second Latin American country to legalise gay marriage.
“He automatically lost all the rights of the clerical state and he is no longer related to its obligations” explained the documents, which was signed by Father Dante Eduardo Simón, the Judicial Vicar.
Alessio responded to the decision by the Vatican, where his fellow citizen, Pope Francis occupies the throne of the worldwide Catholic Church. “I expected this. More than 30 years serving the people and God meant nothing to the Catholic Church. To get rid of me it was enough to have a different opinion than the Archbishop. It was my civil opinion [about same-sex marriage],” stated the expelled priest.
Alessio was suspended in August 2010 after publicly defending gay rights. Back then he pointed out: “Homosexuals have been discriminated, stigmatised and mistreated for centuries, as a dangerous, deviant, sick group of vicious people. But as for me they are just human beings, as normal as any of us, I think we should defend them from these attacks loaded with prejudices.”
Father Simón denies that Alessio has been punished just for “thinking differently”. He claimed that since 2010 there have been a lot of accusations against Alessio, including “those about giving the sacrament of marriage, in a way contrary to the Catholic doctrine. Specifically, for having married same-sex or divorced couples.” The judicial vicar added: “He [Alessio] always had the opportunity to defend himself but has always rejected it.”
The dismissed priest promises that he will continue with his life mission, regardless of the ruling. “For the Church it is like that. But if I perform a baptism or marry someone they will have to admit it, because they cannot erase who I am: a priest. Even if a doctor gets fired, he is still a doctor,” Alessio said.
Alessio was ordained a priest on 3rd December 1981, but now his actions are no longer considered legitimate by the Catholic Church.