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TV documentary claims 'cliques of gay priests' dividing Church

The growing number of homosexual men training for the Catholic priesthood is creating "divisive cliques" of gay and straight students, according to the rector of an English seminary.

A documentary screening on Britain's Channel 4 titled Queer and Catholic claims that there are many practising homosexuals in seminaries who conceal their sexuality.

Fr Kevin Haggerty of St John's seminary in Surrey told the program that sub-cultures and a danger in seminaries.

He said: "They are inappropriate for the priesthood and contrary to the openness required for a priest."

Speaking to the press, he said: "I don't think we can avoid the issue any more. A lot of people's gut reactions to this issue are not rational. They immediately think of the risk of abuse of children. The problem for the Church is one of perception. Homosexuality is not a problem in itself; the important point is the sexual maturity of the priests."

Fr Haggerty said the Church had introduced psychological assessments for all candidates in which they were asked about their sexuality. "What we want to find out is whether they are able to make free, moral decisions about their lifestyle."

Suggesting the program is unhelpful, the Catholic Media Office said: "It is an issue which seminary rectors are talking about."

Electronic Telegraph