10.09.2005

How Do You Prove Celibacy to Someone? Not Have Sex with Them?

Gay Men Can Be Catholic Priests If Celibate: Report

from Reuters

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican will allow gay men into the priesthood if they can show they have been celibate for at least three years, a report in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said on Friday.

But the Vatican will ban men "who publicly manifest their homosexuality" or show an "attraction" to homosexual culture "even if it is only intellectually," Corriere added.

It said the views were contained in a highly secret, 16-page document which is expected to be released next month.

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

The Corriere report said: "Candidates who show a homosexual tendency will not be allowed into the priesthood unless they can demonstrate that they have been able to remain chaste for at least three years."

The report by the newspaper's respected religious affairs correspondent Luigi Accattoli was based on what he called "verbal indiscretions."

Corriere and the weekly Panorama magazine both reported on Friday that Pope Benedict had approved the document this summer.

Panorama said the document's release would be accompanied by a written explanation by "an internationally known psychologist" and published in the Vatican newspaper.

Initial reports last month, primarily in the United States, said the document would bar all gay men being ordained priests, even those who are celibate.

Those reports caused a wave of concern in many quarters in the Church that the Vatican would exclude many good men if a strict policy were to be adopted.

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