Australian Bishops defend gay priests

Ordained Catholic priests who are gay but celibate are not affected by the Vatican's new edict banning gay seminarians, according to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

CLICK HEREThe Age reports that the controversial Vatican edict released last week bars priests who are homosexually active, those who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies and those who support "gay culture". It says they cannot relate properly to men or women.

Last week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference welcomed "clarification that the church does not see (men in those categories) as fit candidates for priestly ordination".

In a statement, the bishops said the document did not question the validity of the ordination or situation of priests in whom homosexual tendencies emerged before or after ordination, but made clear all priests were called to chastity.

Canberra Archbishop Francis Carroll, the president of the bishops' conference, said at the weekend that the bishops are concerned that priests living a proper lifestyle "should not feel threatened or put down".

He agreed that many Australian priests were gay, though he said claims were exaggerated.

He said some very good Australian priests might not have been ordained under these guidelines, which would be regretted. But this was outweighed by the unsuitable priests who would be excluded.

Archbishop Carroll said the ordination of any new homosexual priests would still be valid though unlawful (that is, against the instruction).

The instruction should have little effect in Australia because seminary processes here already mirrored it closely, he said.

Celibate priests not affected by Vatican gay ban (The Age 4/12/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Concerning the Criteria of Vocational Discernment Regarding Perosns With Homosexual Tendencies In View of Their Admission to Seminaries and Holy Orders: English translation courtesy of The Tablet (New Oxford Review 22/11/05)

Editorial says gays document also targets macho priests (CathNews 1/12/05)
Seminary bishop says gays document 'helpful' (CathNews 30/11/05)
Local theologian says gays ruling will have 'little impact' (CathNews 24/11/05)
Gay seminarians document leaked (CathNews 23/11/05)
Italian paper reveals details of gays in priesthood document (CathNews 14/11/05)
Document to prescribe caution, not ban, on gay seminarians (CathNews 10/10/05)
Gay seminarian ban imminent (CathNews 30/9/05)
US seminary visitation "mired in controversy" (CathNews 26/9/05)

Australian Bishops welcome Vatican Instruction on the question of admission of homosexual men to seminaries and the priesthood (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 30/11/05)
Vatican advises against homosexual seminary teachers (Catholic World News 2/12/05)
John L. Allen: Gays in the seminary: Interpreting and applying a tough-sounding document (National Catholic Reporter 2/12/05)
Homosexual candidates "not singled out" by document (NZ Catholic 4/12/05 - temporary url)
Ambiguous tendencies (The Tablet 3/12/05)
Editorial: Vagary of the Vatican's instruction (The Tablet 3/12/05)
"Document Shows Homosexuals Much Sensitivity" (Zenit 1/12/05)

5 Dec 2005