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Posted October 4, 2005

Vatican Document on Gay Priests

The long-awaited Vatican document on homosexuality and the priesthood is expected to be released soon. The signs are that, while it may please a few in the Church, it could cause acute distress to many gay priests who are faithful to their vows of celibacy

Excerpts Taken from The Tablet Sept. 2005

Is there any purge coming in the Catholic Church? There are clues detected by the secular media that this may be the case. Last week the Associated Press flagged a story in the right-leaning National Catholic Register, a weekly American newspaper published by the Legionaries of Christ, the ultra-conservative religious order. In a front-page report, dated 7 September, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien told the Register, “I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary.”

. . . Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke against the notion that gays cannot be chaste, in a 1986 document on homosexual persons issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which read: “What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive.”

. . . Purging the seminaries would contradict another injunction in the Catechism. “[Homosexuals] must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

What does the document for seminaries from Rome say?

Among others things it asks:

What is our general impression of the seminarians?

Do the seminarians of faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution?

Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?

Do the seminarians show an aptitude for and dedication to intellectual work? Is there a clear rule of life in the seminary by means of which the seminarians are formed in the virtues of obedience, chastity, poverty and self-denial?

Do the seminarians know how to use alcohol, the Internet, television, etc., with prudence and moderation?

How does the seminary monitor the seminarian’s behavior outside the seminary?

Is the seminarians’ vacation time used properly in a way that helps and fosters their vocation to the priesthood?

Does the institution teach a proper understanding of the role of women in ecclesial life? Do they understand the proper models of clergy-lay cooperation? Are the faculty and students familiar with the documents of the magisterium on such issues?