11.11.2005

The Ban Is Back On


'Bless you, my son. Are you now or have you ever been a homosexual? And remember: Lies make the baby Jesus cry.'

Vatican Document Bars Active Gays from Priesthood, Says Newspaper

from Catholic News

VATICAN CITY - A long-awaited Vatican document said the church cannot ordain as priests those who are active homosexuals, who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies or who support the "gay culture," an Italian newspaper reported.

The newspaper, Il Giornale, reported what it said were key excerpts from the eight-page document in its Nov. 9 edition. Vatican officials refused to comment on the accuracy of the newspaper report.

The newspaper said the full title of the document was "Instruction on the Criteria of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons With Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Priesthood and to Sacred Orders." The document, which was expected to be formally released in late November, was approved by Pope Benedict XVI Aug. 31, the newspaper said.

The document said the church should welcome homosexuals with respect and sensitivity and avoid discrimination.

But, the newspaper said, the document added that "the church, while deeply respecting these persons, cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, who present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, or who support the so-called gay culture."

For a priest, homosexuality represents "a situation that impedes the building of correct relationships with men and women," it said.

The document said seminary directors may have to distinguish between entrenched homosexual tendencies and more fleeting traits, according to the newspaper.

"The tendencies that may only be the expression of a transitory problem, such as those of an adolescence that is not yet completed, must be clearly overcome at least three years before diaconal ordination," it quoted from the document.

The document reportedly gave special attention to the role of spiritual directors in seminaries. Spiritual directors must respect their relationship of confidentiality with a seminarian, but they also must try to verify that the candidate practices chastity, has reached emotional maturity, and "does not have sexual disturbances incompatible with the priesthood," it said.

In the case of homosexual seminarians, it said, spiritual directors have an obligation to persuade the candidate against pursuing or continuing seminary formation, appealing to the candidate to renounce a priestly vocation.

The document said there was no right to ordination, and it was the church's responsibility to choose proper candidates for the priesthood. In cases of serious doubt about suitability, a candidate should not be ordained, it said.

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