A trainee priest has said he was expelled from his seminary because he posed for a selfie with a gay reality television star.
Henry Frömmichen was a secretly gay seminarian in the autumn of last year when he spotted Alexander Schäfer, the star of gay reality television series Prince Charming, in Munich.
Frömmichen had a “great conversation” with Schäfer on Munich’s Odeonplatz, and the pair took a photo together before parting ways.
While “everyone” in the seminary watched Prince Charming – a German version of The Bachelor that focuses on gay men – Frömmichen was expelled in November 2020 for posting a picture with Schäfer to his Instagram account, he told German radio.
The 21-year-old was asked about his sexuality when he was interviewed for admission to the seminary, and he told Catholic leaders that he was happy to become celibate so he could enter the priesthood.
“I said I had given up a relationship for this step because it was a greater source of excitement for me to enter the priesthood,” Frömmichen said, according to The Irish Times.
However, church leaders came to suspect that Frömmichen was gay after he posted the photo with Schäfer.
He was ultimately expelled from the seminary under a rule introduced by Pope Benedict XVI which forbids men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” or those who support “gay culture” from becoming priests.
Selfie had ‘far-reaching consequences’ for trainee gay priest
Sharing his selfie with Schäfer on Instagram in January, Frömmichen wrote: “Apparently nothing has changed… and yet everything has changed.
“I would never have thought in my life that meeting Alexander would have such great and far-reaching consequences for my life.
“But today I am infinitely grateful that everything turned out like this and that my view was sharpened as a result. And so this picture comes back to my side!”
He added: “I will not be discouraged to fight for the cause of my heart, no matter in which form this will happen in the future!”
Frömmichen decided to publicly share his story following his disappointment with the recent Vatican decision to ban blessings for same-sex couples.
LGBT+ Catholics were left heartbroken in March when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) issued an explanatory statement forbidding clergy from blessing same-sex couples.
The widely condemned statement said that priests must not bless LGBT+ couples because God “cannot bless sin”.
Last week, an 80-page study from the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research suggested that the Vatican’s ruling is based on widespread misinterpretations and mistranslations of key biblical passages.
The report found that sections in Leviticus often cited as the most explicit condemnations of homosexuality actually only prohibit incest and adultery between men, while no reference is made to sexual relationships between women.
Despite this, the Catholic Church still teaches that LGBT+ people are “intrinsically disordered”.