Gay men may not be welcome at seminaries

Gay men who “practice homosexual acts,” or who have “deeply rooted” homosexual tendencies shouldn’t be allowed into the seminary.

Pope Francis is alleged to have told Italian bishops: “If you have even the slightest doubt, it’s better not to let them enter because these acts or deep-seated tendencies can lead to scandals and can compromise the life of the seminary, as well as the man himself and his future priesthood.”

However, there has been no Vatican confirmation of what Francis told the bishops in a closed-door session last week.

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, who is the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, answered a journalist’s question in a way that appeared to confirm that Francis had discussed homosexuality when addressing Italy’s crisis of priestly vocations.

If Francis’s alleged views have been correctly quoted, they match up with a 2005 Vatican document about gay men’s vocations.

The document is called “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”

It was issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

In 2016, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy released another document called The Gift of the Priestly Vocation.

It says “If a candidate practices homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director, as well as his confessor, have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”

Neither of the documents was signed by the pontiffs of the day – Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

Though Francis has not addressed the topic publicly, he alluded to problems of homosexuality in seminary formation during a recent meeting with Chilean bishops.

In a letter written to the bishops which was leaked to Chilean media, Francis corrected Chilean prelates for systematically covering up clerical abuse.

He said the abuses were not limited to just one person or group, but were the result of a fractured seminary process.

In the case of many abusers in Chile, Francis noted how problems had been detected while they were in the seminary or the novitiate.

Rather than expelling these individuals, some bishops or superiors “sent priests suspected of active homosexuality to these educational institutions.”


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