November 30, 2005

Pope's gay priest ruling is hailed by moderates

The Times

By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent and Richard Owen in Rome

A VATICAN ruling on homosexuals entering the priesthood received a surprising welcome from leading Roman Catholics in Britain yesterday after it became clear that it was not as severe as had been feared. However, gay pressure groups and liberal Catholics were critical.

Senior Catholics said that the ruling showed a slight softening of Pope Benedict XVI’s hard line against gays. The instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education said that ordination was not permissible for men with “deep-seated” gay tendencies but was permissible for those who could show they had overcome “transitory” homosexuality for three years. It does not apply to those already ordained.

The instruction was welcomed by moderates because it is not an outright ban on all men of homosexual orientation, celibate or not, but it will disappoint traditionalists because it does not call homosexuality a “tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”, a phrase used by the Pope in his previous post as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac MurphyO’Connor, said: “A priest is primarily a witness to Jesus Christ. Anything that detracts from this impedes that witness.

Posted by kshaw at November 30, 2005 08:33 AM