A long-awaited Vatican statement said that persons with “deep seated homosexual tendencies” should not under any circumstances become Roman Catholic priests.a?
“The church cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders these persons,” states the document published on Nov. 29 and signed by Polish Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, which is responsible for seminaries.a?a?
The document has been the subject of much media speculation in recent months.a?
The seven-page document approved by Pope Benedict XVI said that homosexual acts are “grave sins” for the Roman Catholic church. “The tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved,” it noted.
Still, the document makes an exception for candidates with “homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem.” However, “such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate,” a step towards ordination as a priest.a?
It says that homosexuals “find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women” and that “the candidate to the ordained ministry must reach affective maturity. Such maturity will allow him to relate correctly to both men and women.”a?a?
But a statement in the document rejecting “every sign of unjust discrimination” against homosexuals drew criticism from an Italian Christian gay association and a reform movement called We Are Church. They accused the Vatican of hypocrisy.a?
They said in a joint statement, “What is completely mistaken is the idea of there being an incompatibility between affective maturity and a homosexual orientation. The thousands of untroubled homosexuals who we know, and the thousands of homosexual priests who do not live in chastity, confirm the narrow minded way in which the Vatican sees the problem.”