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Pope says men with 'deviant affections' can't be priests

Pope John Paul II said yesterday that Church leaders must be much more careful not to let men with "deviations in their affections" enter the priesthood.

He also re-affirmed the Church's rule on celibacy, saying it should not be seen as a "useless" imposition but a vital part of a tradition in which the priest offers himself unconditionally to God.

The pope made his comments in a speech in Portuguese to Brazilian bishops visiting his summer residence south of Rome.

The pope, who has said before he felt personally wounded by the child sex scandals, told the Brazilians he felt "a duty" to remind all bishops they had to use "all means" at their disposal to keep unqualified men out of the priesthood.

Candidates, he said, had to be screened "above all from the standpoint of morals and affections." He said those who should never be allowed to make it to ordination included "young, immature (men) or those with obvious signs of deviations in their affections."

"As we sadly know, (such men) can cause grave deviations in the consciences of the faithful, with obvious harm for the entire Church," he said.

Miami Herald-AP

6 Sep 2002