Vatican reaffirms ban on homosexual seminarians

Rome, May. 20, 2008 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican has affirmed that a policy barring homosexuals from admission to seminaries applies to all Catholic dioceses and religious orders.In a brief letter to the world’s bishops, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (bio – news), the Vatican Secretary of State, underlined that a November 2005 policy statement from the Congregation for Catholic Education is “valid for all formation houses for the priesthood,” including those administered by religious orders, the Eastern Catholic churches, and missionary territories.

Cardinal Bertone’s letter– which, he noted, was specifically approved by Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news)– refers to the Instruction released by the Congregation for Catholic Education in November 2005, saying that neither active homosexuals nor celibate men with “profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies” should be ordained to the priesthood or allowed to begin seminary training.

That Vatican document, which has now been reinforced, instructed bishops and religious superiors to use “painstaking discernment” in appraising the candidates for priestly training. Candidates who are identifiably homosexual are not qualified for ordination, the Vatican said. “In the case of a serious doubt in this respect, they must not admit him to ordination,” the document added.

Since the release of the Instruction in November 2005, some bishops and religious superiors had questioned whether the policy was to be applied universally throughout the Church. Cardinal Bertone’s letter, which he wrote to all the world’s bishops and religious superiors in response “to numerous requests for clarification,” answers those questions in the affirmative.

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