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US priest at Vatican says gay men should not be ordained

Fr Andrew Baker of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops has argued that if a man has a predominant or exclusive same-sex attraction, that in itself is grounds for bishops to have "a prudent doubt regarding the candidate's suitability" for receiving the sacrament of orders.

Church law says if such a doubt exists, the person should not be ordained.

Fr Baker was writing in the 30 September issue of the US Jesuits' magazine America . In the same issue, Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit defended ordaining gay priests. "God has called many gay men to the priesthood and to the episcopate throughout the whole history of the church," he said.

Both writers noted that current controversies over homosexual priests have arisen in part out of the crisis of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Some other commentators have argued that since the victims of most offending priests are adolescent boys, homosexuality is a significant part of the problem.

Fr Baker did not say whether he agreed or disagreed with that linkage.

Bishop Gumbleton said, "The problem (of abuse of minors) confronting us is not a problem of homosexual priests among us. It is a problem of seriously underdeveloped priests." The answer, he added, is formation to fuller maturity, which is possible with homosexual and heterosexual people.

Last year Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, said in a CNS interview, "Persons with a homosexual inclination should not be admitted to the seminary."

This March, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told The New York Times that "people with (homosexual) inclinations just cannot be ordained."

Vatican Official Who Opposes Ordaining Gays Says Views Are His Own (Beliefnet-AP)
America Magazine | Ordination and Same Sex Attraction (requires subscription) | Yes, Gay Men Should Be Ordained (requires subscription)
Cohabitation fails as a test for marriage (Fr Andrew Baker, Homiletic and Pastoral Review)


23 Sep 2002