VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis closed the door on the admission of gays to seminary on the same day he allegedly said homosexuals are born that way.
In a Vatican Insider article published Wednesday, the Holy Father reiterated in a meeting with the Italian bishops that "if you have even the slightest doubt" about homosexuals being considered for seminary, then "it's better not to let them enter."
His remarks came during the 71st general assembly on Monday with the Italian bishops' conference. Other topics that were touched on at the closed assembly included the lack of vocations in Italy and the transfer of priests to dioceses lacking in numbers, among others.
The Pope referred to barring individuals with "deep-seated [homosexual] tendencies" or those who practice "homosexual acts" from entering the seminary, since it can lend itself to "scandal" and jeopardize the life of the seminary, the formation of the man and his future as a priest.
In 2005, the Vatican published its guidelines affirming that they "cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"
Three years later, in 2008, the Holy See issued an expanded guideline that included barring men with "an uncertain sexual identity" from the seminary, saying, "the path of formation will have to be interrupted."
But in 2016, the Vatican dismissed the 2008 guideline, refusing seminarians with a "transitory problem" of "homosexual tendencies" while still barring men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies." Paragraphs 199-200 of the document "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation" reads:
[T]he Church ... cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.' ... Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem — for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. ... [S]uch tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.
The document continues, "If a candidate practices homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding to ordination."
"It would be gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality in order to proceed, despite everything, towards ordination," states the 2016 guideline. "Such a deceitful attitude does not correspond to the spirit of truth, loyalty and openness that must characterize the personality of him who believes he is called to serve Christ and [H]is Church in the ministerial priesthood."