Gay Priests Prohibited

Pope Francis leads a meeting with bishops and seminarians associated with Pius XI Seminary at the Vatican Dec. 10. The seminary prepares priests for the Puglia region of southern Italy. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) Pope Francis leads a meeting with bishops and seminarians associated with Pius XI Seminary at the Vatican Dec. 10. The seminary prepares priests for the Puglia region of southern Italy. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

The Vatican on Dec. 7 declared that “persons with homosexual tendencies” cannot be admitted to Catholic seminaries. This reaffirms a 2005 policy now seemingly at odds with Pope Francis’ famous response, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay priests in 2013. The document, entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” was drafted by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, and it is meant to offer wide-ranging guidelines for priestly formation. Three of the document’s 210 paragraphs are devoted to “persons with homosexual tendencies” who desire to become priests, drawing primarily from a 2005 document that bans candidates with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” Pope Francis approved the document, according to a letter signed by Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who heads the clergy office. Quoting the 2005 teaching, the new document says that men “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’” cannot become priests. Men who experience a “transitory” attraction to other men could be admitted to seminaries, it says, though “such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.”

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Richard Booth
1 year ago
It's nice to think that transitory homosexual attractions can be "overcome," but the nature of human sexuality is that it is more or less fluid (see the literature on this topic). There are repression and suppression that might work for awhile, but the urgings are likely to present in either direct or indirect ways along the lifespan. To ban these persons from the priesthood would reduce the number of clerics significantly. But, respecting Pope Francis, I do understand what he is endorsing and why. Unfortunately, one cannot "will away" one's sexuality.
Christine Smith
1 year ago
Do you mean homosexual attractions or 'urgings' are stronger than heterosexual ones? Surely heterosexual priests have to 'overcome' their sexual desires, give up the choice to marry, and devote themselves to their vocation. I understand, however, that a homosexual living closely with men all around him would be putting himself in the occasion of sin, long term!
Richard Booth
1 year ago
Greetings...no, I am not suggesting that one type of attraction is any stronger than the other. What I was attempting to do was to comment on an America article which talked about homosexuality and the priesthood, in which it was stated (I paraphrase) that periodic or transitory homosexual attractions must be eliminated three years prior to the diaconate, according to Pope Francis. Sexual urges do not disappear with Holy Orders; it becomes a matter that requires both homosexual and heterosexual attractions do not lead to the breaking of the vow of chastity.
David Whitewolf
1 year ago
The ideas expressed above exemplify a prime insanity of the Church. Understandably, those priests who are homosexually active are violating their vow to celibacy -- but then so are HETEROSEXUALLY active priests. Heterosexuality is no more "transitory" than is homosexuality. And no one has ever asked heterosexual priests to "overcome" their sexuality. When will the Church grow up?
Derrick Weiller
1 year ago
Many thanks, David, for your clear-headed response.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Formed in 2011, The Oh Hellos' Christianity is one of their foundational inspirations, evident in lines like "the only God I should have loved."
Colleen DulleJanuary 23, 2018
People gather at a June 14 candlelight vigil in Manila, Philippines, in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Philippine Catholic bishops called for vigilance against bullying, ostracism and harassment of gay people in the wake of the incident in which police said a lone gunman killed 49 people early June 12 at the club. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)
“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why,” said Bishop Mark O’Connell.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 23, 2018
Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla clash with military police in the Policarpo Paz Garcia neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Jan. 20, 2018. Following a disputed election marred by irregularities, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the victor and will be inaugurated on Jan. 27. The opposition does not recognize Hernandez's victory and are protesting against the result. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)
“You will see many protests during his mandate...because Honduras hasn’t fixed its age-old problems of inequality, exclusion, poor educational and health system, corruption and impunity.”
Melissa VidaJanuary 23, 2018
I want to be able to serve the state better. I want to be able to serve more of the state.
Nathan SchneiderJanuary 23, 2018