November 24, 2005

Pope's edict prohibits gay priests

The Guardian

John Hooper in Rome
Thursday November 24, 2005
The Guardian

Gay activists reacted with dismay yesterday to a document, endorsed by the Pope, telling Roman Catholic seminaries worldwide they had a duty to weed out homosexual candidates for the priesthood.

The only exceptions allowed were for those with "homosexual tendencies" that were "merely the expression of a transitory problem such as ... uncompleted adolescence". And candidates would need to show such urges had been "clearly overcome" years before being ordained.

The guidelines, stricter than earlier reported, were welcomed by conservative Catholics. George Weigel, a leading American lay theologian, said the church was obliged "to make sure the men it ordains are capable of living lives of celibate chastity".

Campaigners said the uncompromising policy would pave the way for more sex abuse. Richard Kirker, general secretary of Britain's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said it would encourage candidates to deny their sexual orientation during selection. In the US, Joe Solomonese, of the Human Rights Campaign, said: "When the church should be taking responsibility for the harm created by a devastating sex abuse scandal, they are instead using gay people as scapegoats."

Posted by kshaw at November 24, 2005 07:52 AM