November 30, 2005

Gay priest rules


By Eileen E. Flynn
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A long-awaited Vatican document that gives instructions on seminary admission standards for gay men does not decree an outright ban on homosexual clergy and upholds traditional church teaching, Catholic officials say.

But the Vatican's guidelines have spurred an angry response from some Catholics and have prompted one Austin priest to consider leaving the priesthood.

After reading the Vatican's instructions on seminary admission standards for gay men, formally issued Tuesday, the Rev. John Markey, an Austinite, said he is considering taking a leave of absence from his Dominican Order. Markey, who is gay, said the rules paint the church hierarchy as 'cynical and cowardly.'

The document, leaked last week and officially released Tuesday, instructs church leaders to ban from seminaries sexually active gay men as well as those who "present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support so-called gay culture."

Those are the guidelines the Rev. Arturo Cepeda, vocations director for the Archdiocese of San Antonio, said the church has followed all along.

But the Rev. John Markey, a Dominican Order priest who lives in Austin, said he smells a witch hunt.

The document, he said, reflects a "cynical and cowardly" church hierarchy bent on purging gay people from the church or at least silencing them.

Posted by kshaw at November 30, 2005 08:18 AM