October 16, 2005

The papacy's prime focus on gayness

Philadelphia Inquirer

Daniel Williams
writes for the Washington Post

ROME - In the first five months of Pope Benedict XVI's reign, stern opposition to homosexuality in and outside the Roman Catholic Church has quickly become a prime public message for the Vatican.

The new pontiff soon plans to issue guidelines designed to inhibit homosexuals from entering seminaries to train for the priesthood. Church inspectors have embarked on a tour of U.S. seminaries and, according to their working papers, are instructed to ask: "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered.)"

Benedict also has vigorously fought legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Observers have noted that for the quarter-century before becoming Pope, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the Vatican's enforcer of orthodoxy, drafting official positions on homosexuality.

"No doctrinal chief has ever written and spoken about homosexuality as extensively as Ratzinger has, because homosexuals have never had the freedom to organize and demand recognition they enjoy today," author John L. Allen Jr. said in a biography issued before Benedict became Pope.

His papacy's early focus on homosexuality is a reaction to outside events, some analysts have said: the spread of civil unions or marriage rights to same-sex couples, and the disclosure of sexual abuse by priests. Some Vatican officials have largely blamed the abuse on homosexuality.

Posted by kshaw at October 16, 2005 09:55 AM