Benedict XVI tightens ban on homosexual priests
23 November 2005, ROME - Pope Benedict XVI has approved an official document that reinforces the Catholic Church's ban on gay priests.
23 November 2005
ROME - Pope Benedict XVI has approved an official document that reinforces the Catholic Church's ban on gay priests.
The eagerly awaited document comes in response to a series of sex abuse scandals involving Catholic priests in the United States and in other countries, including Italy, Ireland and Poland.
Posted on the Internet by the Italian religious news agency Adista ahead of its official release at the end of the month, the five-page document addresses "the urgent" issue of homosexuals who wish to join the priesthood.
Noting that the church considers homosexual acts as "intrinsically immoral", "contrary to natural law" and "serious sins" that "cannot be approved under any circumstance", the document reiterates its ban on gays wishing to become priests.
"The church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary and to Holy Orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or support the so-called gay culture," the document states.
Those whose homosexual tendencies are "transitory" - "such as, for example, in the case of an incomplete adolescence" - may still be accepted if they can demonstrate that they have "clearly overcome the problem at least three years" prior to ordination.
The document does not explain how the "transitory problem" may be overcome or how a candidate can prove that he no longer has homosexual tendencies.
Candidates are warned against hiding their homosexuality while spiritual directors are advised not to accept candidates should they have "serious doubts" about their moral rectitude.
Issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education, the document was approved on August 31 by Pope Benedict.
The German-born pontiff has vowed to "clean up" the church since his election last April following a recent scandal in the United States in which Catholic priests were accused of sexually abusing teenage boys.
That scandal, coupled with similar reports of sexual abuse by priests in Ireland, Poland, Britain, France, Austria, Australia and other countries, has seriously tarnished the Church's image.
Subject: German news