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Australian seminary ready to comply with Vatican ban on gays

The rector of Sydney's Seminary of the Good Shepherd has said that his institution would comply with a directive from Rome denying homosexual men admission as candidates for the priesthood.

Vatican sources have confirmed that a worldwide directive to Catholic seminaries banning the ordination of gay men is in the pipeline.

Fr Julian Porteous told the Sydney Morning Herald that he is aware of the existence of such a document, but is yet to receive any communication from either the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship or the Congregation for the Clergy about the drafting of guidelines.

"The Vatican Press Office has given no indication of what the conclusions will be," he said. "I would prefer to wait until such a document is promulgated to make any specific comment."

However, Fr Porteous said that if the church was to ban homosexual-oriented seminarians, then the Seminary of the Good Shepherd would comply with the Rome directive.

Speculation that the existence of a draft document banning homosexual clergy has gained credibility in the past week, after the publication of comments made by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, the former head of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In the Congregation's latest bulletin, Cardinal Estevez is quoted saying that "a homosexual person or someone with homosexual tendencies is not ... suitable to receive the sacrament of holy orders".

Michael Kelly, spokesman for the gay rights Rainbow Sash movement, commented to the Herald what the church needs is psychologically healthy priests, regardless of their sexuality.

At present, the formulation of guidelines on vocation and priestly training rests with the individual bishops of each diocese in Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald

Cardinal's letter signals Vatican rejection of gay priests (6/12/02)
Seminary of the Good Shepherd
Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Congregation for the Clergy
Rainbow Sash Movement
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)

10 Dec 2002