Genoa

Outspoken priest Don Gallo dies at 84 in Genoa

Defended gay rights, opposed draconian drug laws

Outspoken priest Don Gallo dies at 84 in Genoa

Genoa, May 22 - A popular Catholic priest who founded a drug-rehabilitation centre, promoted LGBT rights, and once called for a gay pope, died Wednesday afternoon in Genoa, his religious community announced. Don Andrea Gallo, 84, was known as the "street priest" for his community work, including founding Genoa's San Benedetto drug-rehab community. Gallo, who once smoked marijuana in city hall to protest what he denounced as draconian drug laws, was branded a Communist by his opponents. But he stood up for the rights of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals, suggesting the Catholic church should even consider a gay pope to open itself to equality. "A homosexual pope would be a magnificent thing. The essence of the Gospel is that we are all God's sons and daughters and we are all equal as God's children," Gallo once told Radio 24 program La Zanzara. "The homosexual priest must be free to express his identity and his sexuality, because repression leads to pedophilia," Gallo said, adding that he had been sexually harassed by a bishop when he was a young priest. Nichi Vendola, president of the Freedom Ecology Left (SEL) party, eulogized Gallo on Twitter. "Don Andrea Gallo, child of God, travelling companion, father, brother, friend, you will always be in our hearts, our struggles, our utopias".

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