View Full Version : Vatican Restricts Gay Priests

11-12-2005, 11:58 AM
Vatican restricts gay priests: paper


Friday, November 11, 2005 7:05 a.m. ET
By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A new Vatican document will bar from the priesthood practicing homosexuals, men whose gay tendencies are "deeply rooted," or who openly espouse a gay culture, a leading Italian newspaper reported on Friday.

Il Giornale of Milan printed what it said were excerpts from the eagerly awaited document, expected to be issued at the end of this month.

"The Church cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or those who support the so-called 'gay culture,"' the newspaper quoted the document as saying.

In recent months there have been numerous leaks about the contents of the document but Il Giornale's report by its respected religious affairs correspondent Andrea Tornielli appeared to be the first with direct quotes.

A Vatican official in the department that drafted the document, which has been approved by Pope Benedict, declined to comment on the report.

Although the Vatican began working on the document years ago, its urgency has been highlighted by the 2002 sexual abuse scandal in the United States, which involved mostly abuse of teenage boys by priests.

By several accounts, the document is expected to be short and to the point.

The document, an "instruction" by the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, covers one of the most sensitive issues in the Roman Catholic Church.

It would not affect those men who are already priests but only those entering seminaries to prepare for the priesthood.

According to Il Giornale, the document will say that men who have had gay tendencies in what the document calls "part of a transitory problem" can be ordained deacons if they have "clearly overcome" the tendencies for at least three years.

Men are ordained deacons, a position just one step short of the priesthood, usually about a year before they are ordained priests.

It says no-one has a "right to receive ordination" and that rectors of seminaries should not allow men to proceed to the priesthood if there was "a serious doubt" about their ability to live by the rules.

The Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin but that homosexual acts are, and it expects all priests, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to remain celibate.

Media reports in September, primarily in the United States, had said the document would bar all gay men from being ordained priests without exception.

Those initial reports, which have since been widely discounted, caused concerns in many quarters in the Church that many good men would be excluded by a total ban.

The Vatican has been working on the instruction on homosexual men and the priesthood for years. It will be a reform of a 1961 document which said men with "perverse inclination" to homosexuality should not be ordained.

Reacting to earlier reports that the document would ban even celibate men with gay tendencies, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin told the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet last month:

"You don't write off a candidate for the priesthood simply because he is a gay man."

Martin told the Tablet that seminaries did not in the past give men enough support to help them mature in their sexuality.

"We need to provide services of support for these priests and this will involve helping them along their personal journey and reassuring them."

In his book "The Changing Face of the Priesthood," Father Donald Cozzens estimated that some 40 percent of U.S. priests are gay but only a tiny minority are practicing homosexuals.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.

11-14-2005, 07:56 PM
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