November 13, 2005

Vatican to Define Its Policy on Gay Seminarians

Los Angeles Times

By Tracy Wilkinson, Times Staff Writer

VATICAN CITY The Vatican is preparing to release a document, years in the making, that will bolster the Roman Catholic Church's doctrine against admitting gay men into the priesthood.

Despite an acute shortage of Catholic priests in many parts of the world, church leaders under Pope Benedict XVI are advocating a more careful screening of aspiring clerics to keep out homosexuals. However, rather than an absolute ban feared in some circles, the pope is expected to adopt a somewhat more nuanced approach in the final document.

The Vatican announced in 2002 that a year earlier it had begun revising guidelines on whether gays should be allowed to enroll in seminaries. Officials were responding to two concerns: what some Catholics saw as a growing gay subculture within seminaries and in church life, and the explosion of sexual abuse scandals in the United States and elsewhere, the majority of whose victims were boys.

Benedict has been clear in upholding church teachings that condemn homosexuality as "disordered" and potentially evil, both in his decades as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, and since his election as pontiff in April. He has repeatedly emphasized traditional moral doctrine, condemning same-sex marriages and other perceived crises of values in the secular world.

Posted by kshaw at November 13, 2005 07:42 AM