Vatican Approves ‘Transitory’ Gay Seminarians

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 8, 2016   

Relaxes 2008 ban on seminarians with "uncertain sexual identity"

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VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Vatican's new guidelines for seminarians is relaxing the rules on men with homosexual tendencies. While continuing to exclude from the seminary men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," the new guidelines now allow in seminaries men with a "transitory problem" of "homosexual tendencies."

The document, titled "The Gift of the Priestly Vocation," was promulgated Thursday, December 8, by the Congregation for the Clergy. Paragraphs 199–200 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tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem — for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded.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.

While the above quote is in keeping verbatim with a 2005 instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, it nevertheless contradicts the updated and more restrictive guidelines put out in 2008 by the same congregation titled "Guidelines for the use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood."

The 2008 guidelines direct seminaries to dismiss men who have not only "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" but also an "uncertain sexual identity." Of this latter group, the 2008 guidelines say their "path of formation will have to be interrupted."

But this isn't the case in the current manual on seminary formation just promulgated by the Congregation for the Clergy, which leaves such men in the seminary to work out their "transitory problem." Paragraph 200 of the manual says of these men, "Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate." 
 
The 2008 document, on the other hand, spoke of psychological deficiencies in seminarians, pointing out, "Such immaturity would include ... uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted."
 
It went on to list problems that "block the vocational journey," which include "a sexual identity that is confused or not yet well defined."
 
It also didn't allow conflicted seminarians to stay in formation to work out their psychological difficulties. "If it should be ascertained that the candidate needs therapy, this therapy should be carried out before he is admitted to the seminary or house of formation."
 
The Vatican emphasized in 2005 the dangers associated with ordaining homosexual men. Rome emphatically warned: "One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies." 
 
To see the danger one needs only look at the sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Church. According to official reports, the "pedophile scandal was really of homosexual scandal where approximately 80 percent of the victims were post-pubescent males.
 

 

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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli