Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Andrés Gioeni as a young priest [right] and with his husband Luis years later (provided)
A gay ex-priest in the Pope's home country of Argentina is exiting the Catholic Church over its stance on same-sex unions.
The move follows last week's Pope Francis-approved decree on same-sex unions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that states: "God does not bless sin."
In response, Andrés Gioeni delivered a letter disavowing his faith to his bishopric last Wednesday.
The 49-year-old was barred from exercising priestly ministry after posing naked on the cover of a gay magazine in 2003.
“I do not want to continue being an accomplice"
Gioeni, who lives with his 50-year-old husband Luis Iarocci [below, left], last week told AP: “I do not want to continue being an accomplice to this institution, because I realize the harm they are doing to people.
"I am not renouncing my faith in God but rather I am renouncing a role and a rite."
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Speaking to Attitude this week, Gioeni said he knows many closeted LGBTQs within the Church.
"Yes, there are many people who have to live a double life," he explains. "They end up anguished and unhappy."
"No one knew it would cause a scandal"
Of his 2003 magazine cover, Gioeni told us: "I actually did it as part of my new job as an actor and underwear model. No one knew in that magazine that I had been a priest and that the photos would cause a scandal."
Asked what he and his husband's religious identities are today, Gioeni replied: "We consider ourselves spiritual and sensitive people with great faith in a universal God, who does not discriminate."
The pair have been together for 17 years and legally married since 2014.
On chances of the Pope being an advocate for gay people, but facing anti-gay pressure from within the Vatican, Gioeni said: "Possibly. But if this is the case, Francis should trust in the Truth. In the long run the rest is resolved."