Document to prescribe caution, not ban, on gay seminarians
The forthcoming Vatican document on homosexuals in seminaries will not demand an absolute ban, a senior Vatican official said on Friday, but will insist that seminary officials exercise "prudential judgment" that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases.
The National Catholic Reporter's John L Allen says the three cases are:
• If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;
• If they are part of a "gay culture," for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);
• If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently "strong, permanent and univocal" as to make an all-male environment a risk.
In any case, the Vatican official said, whether or not these criteria exclude a particular candidate is a judgment that must be made in the context of individual spiritual direction, rather than by applying a rigid litmus test.
This language is in contrast with earlier news reports that had suggested a much more sweeping ban on gays in the seminary.
The senior Vatican official spoke with NCR on background, after a report on Friday in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera listed the first two, but not the third, of the conditions noted above for exclusion of gay candidates.
The Vatican official said that given the ambiguity of the concept of "homosexuality," meaning the difficulty of providing a precise definition of the term, an "absolute policy" is impossible.
The official said the document is expected to appear in early November.
No ban on gays expected in Vatican document; will advise 'prudential judgment' (National Catholic Reporter 7/10/05)
Gay seminarian ban imminent (CathNews 30/9/05)
US seminary visitation "mired in controversy" (CathNews 26/9/05)
Gay priests 'must prove chastity for three years': Vatican (Irish Times 7/10/05)
Gay men can be Catholic priests if celibate-paper (Reuters 7/10/05)
Newspaper: Vatican to bar active gays, allow celibate gays as priests (Catholic News Service 7/10/05)
Vatican to leave room for gay seminarians? (Catholic World News 7/10/05)
"Secret Report" Allows Gay Priests (GayNZ.com 8/10/05)
Vatican Document Stops Short of Gay Ban (Leading the Charge 7/10/05)
Total ban on gay priests unlikely (Sydney Morning Herald 8/10/05)
Priest assaulted, man charged (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 9/10/05)
Behind the Vatican's Proposed Gay Seminarian Ban (Time 22/9/05)
10 Oct 2005