A Catholic priest told The Washington Post this week that he's gay.

“There's a level of witnessing here that's important for me to do,” he told the paper. “The Christian faith has a lot to say about the underdog, about the marginalized or the leper, the blind, the lame, the ostracized woman prostitute, widow, the little one.”

“I'd like to be one of those priests, who, with great respect for the church's teaching, can say: I'm a human being. I'm a son – one of six – I'm gay and I'm a priest, period.”

According to the article, Michael Shanahan struggled with whether to use his real name.

“He set the rules at the outset: He did not want to be identified in this article,” Michelle Boorstein wrote. “But at the end of the first conversation, he said: I'm leaning towards using my real name.”

Shanahan, who ministers in Chicago, said that he wanted to speak from the pulpit in 2008 when California's high court struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. “I thought: 'Oh my gosh, if I talk about it, they'll think I'm gay.'”

He added that he did not know he was gay when he entered the priesthood.