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  November 21, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 20Oakland, CA

articles list

Vatican document reportedly to ban
‘deeply rooted’ gays from priesthood

New guidelines define roles of lay ecclesial ministers

Lay Ecclesial Ministers Council represents local lay ministers

Local actions planned against death penalty

Churches, schools continue Katrina aid

New pastors appointed for Concord, Fremont parishes

Collection to support retired Religious women and men

Local charities
deliver their holiday wish lists

Fourteen local non-profits earn CCHD funding

Pollution puts Jordan River near point of extinction

Actor brings personal devotion to portrayal of pope

An Advent Calendar for Social Justice

•U.S. immigration policy needs compassion

•Thanksgiving is a
religious holiday
on two counts

•Is it permissible to call God ‘Mother’?


























Vatican document reportedly to ban
‘deeply rooted’ gays from priesthood

VATICAN CITY— The Vatican is set to release a long-awaited document that bars gay men from becoming priests if they are sexually active, publicly support “gay culture” or exhibit “deeply rooted homosexual tendencies,” according to a detailed report published Nov. 11.

After a series of conflicting leaks regarding the content of the document in the U.S. and Italian media, Milan’s daily Il Giornale published the first report containing excerpts.

“The Church cannot admit to the priesthood those who practice homosexuality, have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies or those who support the so-called ‘gay culture,’” Il Giornale quoted the document as stating.

The Vatican will reportedly publish the eight-page document Nov. 29 under the title “Instruction on the criteria of vocational discernment regarding people with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to the priesthood and to sacred orders.”

The report said Pope Benedict XVI approved the document Aug. 31 in “forma specifica,” making it the Church’s most authoritative teaching on gays in the priesthood without signing it personally.

The document instead bears the signature of Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and is dated Nov. 4, according to Il Giornale.

When asked about the newspaper’s report, Cardinal Grocholewski told the New York Times, “I have nothing to say. Absolutely nothing.”

Although the document allegedly restricts the access of gays to the priesthood, it does not ban gays outright as some media reports indicated.

“Tendencies that were only expressions of a transitory problem, like that of unfinished adolescence,” do not disqualify gays from entering the priesthood, the document reportedly states. But the tendencies “must be clearly overcome” three years beforehand.

Il Giornale did not say if the document establishes further criteria for screening gay candidates, indicating the process would be left to the individual discretion of Church officials.

Bishops, seminary rectors and superiors of religious orders are instructed to reach a “firm moral judgment” on questionable candidates, the document reportedly states.

The document also instructs seminary spiritual directors to rate the “emotional maturity” of candidates and make sure they “do not have sexual problems incompatible with the priesthood,” according to the report.

Spiritual directors are expected to convene with candidates on a confidential basis, but are bound by an “obligation of conscience to dissuade” candidates they deem inappropriate from continuing their priestly vocations.

Spiritual directors are to base their judgments on “the concept of ministerial priesthood in accord with Church teaching,” the document reportedly states.

The document instructs bishops and seminary rectors to supervise a candidate’s spiritual direction, denying admittance to candidates in cases of “serious doubt.” But it was unclear how such supervision would take place without violating a candidate’s confidentiality.

The document is not expected to ban gays who are already active in the priesthood. According to the report, the document calls for the Church to accept gays “with respect and delicacy” and avoid “any trace of discrimination” against them.



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