November 24, 2005

Priests Citing New Problem in Gay Policy

The New York Times

Published: November 24, 2005
A day after the disclosure of a new Vatican directive that deters most gay men from joining the priesthood, some priests say they are shocked by one easily overlooked clause. It says that spiritual directors and confessors in seminaries "have the duty to dissuade" any candidates "who show deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from joining the priesthood.

These priests said this would turn the confessional and spiritual counseling sessions, which seminarians previously regarded as private and supportive meetings, into a tool for weeding gay men out of seminaries.

"The relationship between a seminarian and his confessor or his spiritual director should not be about enforcing church documents, but to serve as spiritual guides," said the Rev. Michael Herman, a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who has recently publicly identified himself as gay in order to speak out against the Vatican's action.

"They've gone so far as to say your confessor's and spiritual adviser's role is to talk you out of" becoming a priest, Father Herman said.

Posted by kshaw at November 24, 2005 08:15 AM