Friday, August 25, 2023

Rebel Italian priest formally dismissed from priesthood

qui est le prêtre pro gay qui a été suspendu une divinis sanctionnée

A high-profile Italian priest who championed euthanasia and same-sex marriage has been dismissed from the priesthood at his own request.

Fr Luca Favarin, 53, who had been suspended since last December a divinis, made the announcement of his dismissal from the clerical state in an August 24 post on Facebook, saying the Vatican decree had arrived the day before.

Favarin had been a priest of the Diocese of Padua since 1988, and in recent years has turned himself into a highly-successful businessman as he has sought to reach out and work with migrants.

Favarin has been long at odds with official Catholic teaching on several hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

“I believe in the right to love and to see that love publicly recognised, also for people of the same sex,” he once said.

“Incoherence doesn’t have any sense. I don’t have any intention of saying in church ‘let’s kick out the homosexuals’ and then acting in a different way outside.”

Favarin also generated controversy over the years for acerbic social media posts, such as complaining about the erection of nativity sets for Christmas when refugees such as the Holy Family continue to be mistreated, and also objecting to the public display of the corpse of Pope Benedict XVI after his death in a manner he described as “half-mummified like the remains of an emperor”.

His dismissal, however, arose from a series of economic enterprises created by Favarin to support refugees in Padua, particularly young Tunisians and other North Africans who are arriving in the northern city with increasing frequency.

His cluster of operations includes a bar called “Rebel Verses,” a cafeteria at a popular local museum and a restaurant called “Along the Way” which is currently ranked sixth out of 717 restaurants in Padua on the Trip Advisor site.

Altogether, these activities are believed to generate roughly $1.8 million in annual revenue.

In December, when Favarin was suspended, the Padua diocese released a statement citing concerns over financial transparency and invoking canon 286 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that “clerics are prohibited from conducting business or trade personally or through others, for their own advantage or that of others, except with the permission of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.”

Favarin insisted that because his enterprises are registered under civil law, their finances are subject to review by Italian authorities and a matter of public record.

Furthermore, he said whatever profits they generate are devoted to relief efforts for migrants, refugees, alcohol and drug addicts, former prostitutes, abuse victims, ex-convicts and other needy persons.

Among other things, Favarin sponsors a residence for minor refugees called “Kidane Village” (Kidane is a term in northern African languages meaning “alliance” or “covenant”).

In addition, Favarin has said that three non-profit organizations he sponsors spend roughly $270 million every year renting apartments for refugee families.

Favarin long has said he doesn’t simply want to offer charitable assistance to refugees and other needy persons, but rather jobs and the opportunity to become protagonists in their own future. In 2017 he published a book with the provocative title, Circus Animals: The Obedient Migrants We’d Like to Have.

In a December interview with Italian media, Favarin described a hostile encounter with Bishop Claudio Cipolla of Padua which led to his suspension, and, ultimately, to his dismissal from the priesthood.

According to Favarin, Bishop Cipolla asked him to sign a document stating that his various commercial enterprises were not sanctioned by the Church, which he attributed to concerns that if any of his activities went bankrupt or became subjects of legal action, the diocese wanted to be able to disassociate itself.

At that point, Favarin said, he informed Bishop Cipolla that he would request dismissal from the priesthood.

He said that Bishop Cipolla produced the necessary paperwork and asked, “Would you like to do it now or wait a few days?”, suggesting he was hoping for that outcome.

At the time, Favarin complained that diocesan officials only seemed interested in his finances, but not the spirit of his activities.

“They only asked about the balance sheets, and talked about sharing in that sense, nothing more. They came one time to see me at the restaurant, and that was it.”

“How can I witness, announce, and try to open a path for inclusion through the Church, when I feel like the first one excluded?” he said.

In his new Facebook post, Favarin said: “I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I am deeply proud of what I am/are doing and exactly how we do it,” he wrote.

“In all conscience, I don’t want to have anything to do with those who, without ever having come to know and understand, judge the things we do as entrepreneurial activities,” Favarin wrote, asserting that what he’d been subject to from church authorities in other circumstances would be called “mobbing and defamation”.

In terms of what comes next, Favarin hinted that he may consider starting his own family.

“Who knows, maybe one day I will even want a child alongside the many who arrive by sea,” he said. “How extraordinary life is, always new and fascinating.”