November 15, 2005

Bishop supports gay priests in writing

Democrat & Chronicle

Marketta Gregory
Staff writer

(November 15, 2005) While the world awaits a controversial Vatican document that could ban gays from the priesthood, Bishop Matthew Clark assured gay priests and seminarians on Sunday that they are welcome in Rochester's Roman Catholic diocese.

"We deeply value your ministry," Clark wrote in his weekly column in the Catholic Courier, referring to priests who are gay and dedicate their lives to service. And to gay men considering becoming priests: "We try to treat all inquiries fairly. You will be no exception."

Clark was at a meeting of bishops in Washington, D.C., and couldn't be reached on Monday, but his column, which is distributed at parishes throughout the 12-county diocese, was apparently sparked by his concern over two recent events: Vatican officials visiting seminaries to study how students are being prepared for priesthood and a life of celibacy; and the soon-to-be-released Vatican document that deals with whether gay men should be allowed to become priests.

The content of the Vatican document has provided grist for the rumor mill. Some media reports claim the document, which was years in the making, dissuades gays from joining the priesthood; others say it gives bishops authority to look at each applicant on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, people in the pews are talking about it.

Posted by kshaw at November 15, 2005 09:14 AM