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Vatican prepares draft directives against admitting gays as priests

The Vatican has prepared a draft document containing directives against the admission of homosexuals to the priesthood, informed Vatican sources said.

The document takes the position that since the church considers the homosexual orientation as "objectively disordered" such people should not be admitted to the seminary or ordained, the sources said on Tuesday.

The question of excluding homosexuals from the priesthood had been quietly considered at the Vatican for years without finding a consensus. It received new and more urgent attention in the wake of US clerical sex abuse cases, many of which involved homosexual acts.

The Congregation for Catholic Education prepared the draft document in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and other Vatican agencies, the sources said. The draft was being circulated for comment in October among a wide range of consultants, including theologians, canon lawyers and other experts, they said.

Catholic News Service


The International Theological Commission is wrapping up work on a document that explores environmental and bioethics issues in light of the theology of creation.

Titled "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God," the document says human beings have a special responsibility to care for the created universe and to protect the integrity of human life - especially given the new risks posed in areas like genetic engineering and embryonic research.

It offers no new church teaching on the various scientific and social issues mentioned, but buttresses the theological arguments against such practices as abortion, euthanasia, nontherapeutic genetic manipulation and human cloning.

The working version of the document, discussed at the commission's meeting at the Vatican in early October, was made available to Catholic News Service. After a few final changes, it is expected to be approved by a mail-in vote in November.

Catholic News Service


The International Theological Commission has concluded a long study of the diaconate, and issued a "nearly unanimous" report that finds the debate on the possibility of ordaining women as deacons is "still open", and must be settled by the magisterium rather than by theologians.

The 30 members of the International Theological Commission met in Rome last week, under the direction of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Their discussion of the diaconate had been commissioned by that Congregation eight years ago, and will now form the basis for a new document on the diaconate, to be issued by the Congregation.

The exact nature of the diaconate, and the possibility of opening that ministry to women, have been the subjects of active discussion at the Vatican for several years. In 1998, as he introduced a new "directory for the ministry and life of permanent deacons," Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, said that the Vatican wished to avoid any "confusion on the idea of the diaconate," and told reporters that such confusion could arise from premature discussion of the ordination of female deacons.

At the same time, Cardinal Jose Savaira Martins - at the time, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, observed: "While 'deaconesses' indubitably did exist in the early days of the Church, they were not ordained in the same way that priests were; they simply received a blessing, which was not a sacrament."

Spirit Daily / Catholic World News

Congregation for Catholic Education
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
An Open Letter to the Bishops (Catholic Medical Association, USA)
Half of US Catholic clergy sees a gay presence in priesthood (19/8/02)
International Theological Commission
Vatican document on women deaconesses nears final vote (30/9/02)
Women Priests Catholic Internet Library | Women Deacons
Women Deacons: at What Price? (Homiletic & Pastoral Review)

10 Oct 2002