April 30, 2005

Vatican expected to review American seminaries

UNITED STATES
USA Today

The Associated Press
A Vatican evaluation of American seminaries planned three years ago in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis is expected to move forward under new Pope Benedict XVI and will likely tackle the polarizing issue of whether gays should become priests.

The appraisal will focus on conditions in the seminaries, including how instructors present church teaching on sexuality and celibacy, to look for anything that contributed to the scandal.

Church officials conducting the review will inevitably take up complaints that gays are enrolling in large numbers in the seminaries and their sexual activity is tolerated at the schools, experts on Catholicism said. Some Catholics contend an atmosphere of sexual permissiveness for straight and gay seminarians was a factor in the crisis, which has led to more than 11,000 abuse claims in the last five decades.

Dean Hoge, a Catholic University sociologist who has spent 30 years studying the priesthood, said seminary rectors are anxious about the review called an "apostolic visitation."

"Having the boss show up makes anyone nervous," Hoge said.

Posted by kshaw at April 30, 2005 03:50 PM