Vatican Reports on US Seminaries

After a three-year investigation, the Vatican has concluded that US diocesan seminaries are “in general, healthy,” while criticizing some run by religious orders. The report said faculty at “some schools” of theology run by religious tolerated “widespread” dissent on some church teachings (e.g., women priests, moral theology) and a failure to encourage “thinking with the Church.” It also expressed concern that some seminaries permitted too many lay students and professors to share classes, dining facilities and worship space with seminarians. The report stated further that “many seminaries” needed a stricter rule of life, including a curfew, better monitoring when off campus and restrictions on the use of alcohol and the internet. The studies were mandated in 2002 in response to the public outcry over clergy sex abuse. They were conducted in 2005 as the Vatican published new rules barring men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” or who “support the so-called ‘gay culture’ ” from the priesthood. Gay-rights activists and scholars charged that the Vatican is using gay men as scapegoats for the sex abuse scandal, and argue that pedophilia is not connected to sexual orientation. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said, “The central problem is, and always has been, chancery offices, not seminaries.” For FutureChurch's position statement on Gay Seminarian Ban, see About Us at

(The Tablet, 1/24/09, Religion News Service, 2/6/09).


Focus on FutureChurch

Winter 2009


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