November 30, 2005

Vatican Issues Guidelines on Gay Priests

ROME
Los Angeles Times

By Tracy Wilkinson, Times Staff Writer

ROME The Vatican on Tuesday formally released instructions that block actively gay men from the priesthood, a long-anticipated document that already has opened a debate over how it will be applied and whether it will have a healing, or detrimental, effect on the Roman Catholic Church.

Church conservatives are applauding the document for taking a strong stance against what many see as an immoral "gay subculture" within seminaries and church life, and for establishing clearer restrictions on who is suitable to become a priest.

But liberals said they feared the rules would be used to keep qualified men out of a depleted priesthood because of their sexual identity, even when celibate.

This is the first major instruction to be issued by Pope Benedict XVI, and the fact that it focused on homosexuality reflected the German pontiff's concern over morals he sees being eroded by Western secular culture.

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, author of the eight-page document as prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said Tuesday that it was crucial for the church to speak out now.

Posted by kshaw at November 30, 2005 08:08 AM