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Vatican Bans Gay Seminarians

A new Vatican document appears only to allow ordination for seminary candidates who experienced “transitory” homosexual tendencies that were “clearly overcome” at least three years before ordination as a deacon. It excludes candidates “who are actively homosexual, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture.”’ Many believe the document will make it nearly impossible for men who believe their basic orientation is gay - but who are celibate - to become priests. Both progressive and conservatives agreed it will present a strong deterrent to homosexual men applying for the priesthood, even though there seemed to be some limited room for seminaries to make exceptions. In the United States, it re-ignited a debate as to whether this is an appropriate response to the recent sex abuse scandals and whether celibate gay men can still be good priests. U.S. Jesuit scholar Father Tom Reese said, “The Vatican is making decisions about the appropriateness of ordaining homosexuals in total ignorance of how many current priests are homosexuals, how well they observe celibacy and how well they do ministry. If someone is called to the priesthood by God but denied it by church officials, then it is not a violation of a human right, it is a violation of a divine right—the right of God to call whomever he chooses to the priesthood,” (International Herald Tribune, Reuters 11/23/05)





Fall 2005



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