In 2011, the book Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay Catholic Priest was anonymously published, and distributed around the world. The book was republished a month ago – this time, with a name in the same place that once said anonymous. Gary Meier is a now openly gay Catholic priest from St. Louis, Missouri who has decided to end his silence in the name of the equality for the LGBT community.
In his book, Hidden Voices, Meier writes about his struggle with being a part of a church hierarchy that is strongly anti-LGBT. While the Catholic Church claims that they accept and love LGBT people as children of God, Meier feels as though the Catholic hierarchy has grown increasingly hostile toward the LGBT community.
The book went public with an anonymous author 2 years ago, and since then Meier has decided he can't suffer in silence any longer. "I have tried over the years to reconcile my silence as a gay priest, with that of the church's increasingly anti-gay stance," Meier writes in his recently republished book, "I have been unsuccessful." A month after Hidden Voices was republished, Meier responded in a Huffington Post blog to the most frequently asked questions he has received since he outed himself as a gay Catholic priest: "Why now," and "what now?"
While Meier isn't entirely sure of the answer to the second question, he is entirely sure of the answer to the first. Many people have asked him "why now? Is it because you're dating someone?" To this question, Meier understandingly answers "of course not." Like any other Catholic priest, Meier has taken an oath of celibacy, and contrary to popular belief, he disputes the idea that celibacy has even been an issue in his time in the Catholic Church. Instead, Meier has struggled most with the anti-LGBT teachings of the Catholic Church, and that is why he has chosen now to speak up.
Meier quotes St. Catharine of Sienna in his reasoning for ending his silence. "Speak the truth with a thousand voices. It is silence that kills the Earth," and it is apparent that Meier feels as though his silence has kept him from helping other LGBT Christians like himself. "In so many ways I wish I had spoken sooner," Meier laments. "If I have any guilt at all," he goes on to explain, "it's is because I have waited this long to speak up."
The second question he gets asked frequently is, "what now?" Meier, quite like many others, isn't entirely sure of what the future holds for him, but he is sure that whatever it is will include advocating for the LGBT community. His efforts to advocate for the LGBT community have already begun with a faith-based internet initiative called Rising Voices, a website dedicated to positive feedback for the LGBT community from the rising voices of faith that affirm LGBT people. The website boasts a rainbow banner and positive messages from Christians all around the US, with the words "your voice matters," in large red font at the top of the page.
Meier serves as a positive role model, not only for the young LGBT community looking for where they and their faith fit into the world, but also as a voice of progressive change from inside the church by having the courage to stand up for what he believes is important and right. "Now I speak the truth," he explains, "the truth that God has given me to speak. The truth about love, acceptance, and what it means to be a gay Catholic priest."
Here is a video from Fr Gary Meier about Rising Voices.