No gays, no way: Vatican on homosexual priests

When the 2005 Vatican document on homosexuals and the priesthood came out, there was some debate over what Rome meant by its terms--such as "deep-seated" homosexuality, and whether the church wanted to bar even homosexuals capable of living a chaste life. When the follow-up document on psychological testing of seminarians came out this week, as posted below, it also addressed the point but did not resolve it.But CNS' John Thavis has a blog post on the press conference introducing this week's document and in the transcription of Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski's remarks, it seems pretty definitive: no gay, no how.

One lingering doubt about the homosexuality document was whether a homosexually oriented man who was nevertheless committed to celibacy could be ordained a priest. At Thursdays press conference, Cardinal Grocholewski gave a rather forceful no, and here are the essential parts of his answer:The candidate does not necessarily have to practice homosexuality (to be excluded.) He can even be without sin. But if he has this deeply seated tendency, he cannot be admitted to priestly ministry precisely because of the nature of the priesthood, in which a spiritual paternity is carried out. Here we are not talking about whether he commits sins, but whether this deeply rooted tendency remains.Cardinal Grocholewski wasthen asked why, if a man with strong heterosexual tendencies but who is celibate can be ordained, the same could not be true of a man with homosexual tendencies? His answer:Because its not simply a question of observing celibacy as such. In this case, it would be a heterosexual tendency, a normal tendency. In a certain sense, whenweask why Christ reserved the priesthood to men, we speak of this spiritual paternity, and maintain that homosexuality is a type of deviation, a type of irregularity, as explained in two documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Therefore it is a type of wound in the exercise of the priesthood, in forming relations with others. And precisely for this reason we say that something isnt right in the psyche of such a man. We dont simply talk about the ability to abstain from these kinds of relations.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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