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Cardinal's letter signals Vatican rejection of gay priests

A leading Vatican official has confirmed what is emerging as the Vatican's unequivocal position that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained.

In a letter dated 16 May 16, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez said: "Ordination to the diaconate or priesthood of persons with homosexual tendencies is absolutely unadvisable and imprudent, and from a pastoral point of view, extremely risky."

Cardinal Estevez was the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship until his retirement in October. The May letter, which was a response to a query from a bishop, has now been published in the November-December edition of a bulletin put out by the Congregation for Divine Worship.

An unidentified bishop had written to the Congregation for the Clergy, seeking a definitive answer regarding Vatican policy on the ordination of men with homosexual tendencies. That Congregation handed the question over to the Congregation for Divine Worship, prompting the response from Cardinal Medina Estevez.

The cardinal's letter indicates that he was replying to the query from the unnamed bishop (who is understood to have been American) after having consulted with other Vatican dicasteries, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as the Congregation for the Clergy. He said that he had also been guided by previous Vatican statements, and had taken into account the lessons that had been derived from many requests for dispensation from the priesthood.

Earlier, in 1997, the Congregation for Divine Worship had circulated a letter to the world's bishops, proposing some guidelines for the selection of candidates for priestly ordination. Among the required characteristics were "sufficient affective maturity and a clearly masculine sexual identity."

Catholic World News

Vatican: Gays Unsuitable for Priesthood (AP)
Vatican Department Says No to Gay Priests (Reuters)
Vatican prepares draft directives against admitting gays as priests (10/10/02)
An Open Letter to the Bishops (Catholic Medical Association, USA)
Half of US Catholic clergy sees a gay presence in priesthood (19/8/02)

US priest at Vatican says gay men should not be ordained (23/9/02)
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)

6 Dec 2002