I saw it first on Fr. Z.
Apparently the Holy Father reaffirmed 'Catholic policy' on admitting gay men to seminary, in a private meeting with the Italian bishops.
“If there’s a doubt about homosexuality, it’s better not to have them enter the seminary.”
The words of the Pope in the closed door session with the Italian bishops: “Discernment is needed”. Reaffirmed what was in the Vatican documents of 2005 and 2016.
With the pastors of the CEI (Italian bishops conference) – Vatican insider learned – Francis, speaking about the downturn in vocations, one of his “three worries” for the Italian church, he was, instead, more straightforward and, inviting the bishops to oversee more the quality of future priests, then the quantity, explicitly mentioned cases of homosexual persons who desire, for various motives, to enter into the seminary. Then he invited the bishops to a “careful discernment”, adding: “if you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”. - Fr. ZEvidently bishops in Chile appointed active homosexual priests to seminaries:
The Pontiff denounced verified problems in seminaries where – as he wrote – bishops and religious superiors have entrusted control to “priests suspected of practicing homosexuality”. - Fr. ZFr. Z knows as well as I do this had happened in the United States over recent decades. It has been an open secret, if you will. In my opinion, there's no 'gay mafia' to speak of, it was simply a fact of life. I'm convinced my archdiocese has fixed all that, but that we had been a problem here many years ago, is no secret.
I really only wanted to cite this recent statement by the Pope to demonstrate that the Holy Father definitely supports Catholic teaching on sexual morality as it concerns homosexuality. I know others will disagree with me on that, but I have not lost my confidence in Pope Francis. Some day, everyone will see that clearly. I also think people would be surprised if the bishops who have entrusted such priests, or who have looked the other way, permitting them to stay on in their positions, were to be revealed or identified. It's not just so-called 'liberal' prelates who have done that. There are those who continue to encourage and support gay men to pursue seminary or monastic life.
It's a problem - a very serious problem, as the translation Fr. Z published explains:
One indication, from the Pope, that expresses his deep concern: these tendencies, which are “deeply rooted”, and the practice of “homosexual acts”, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and an eventual future priesthood. They can generate those “scandals” of which the Pope had spoken in his discourse at the opening of the assembly of the Italian bishops in the new hall of the Synod, that disfigure the face of the Church. - Fr. Z
And I will tell you why I agree.
I know many guys who have tried their vocations - over and over - convinced after each repentance, after each lengthy period of continence, that they are suited for religious life, and or priesthood. After every attempt, many fall back into the old patterns of masturbation, porn, and anonymous sex. It's not an addiction, but a 'deeply rooted' inclination. Deep seated. I'm not talking about a teen boy who is just 'horny' and wants to 'get off'. Celibate priesthood and religious life - even in community - does not 'take care' of inordinate desires. Homosexual acts are indeed gravely disordered and will compromise seminary and religious life. What I'm saying is that men with deep seated homosexual tendencies should be discouraged from seminary and religious life.
Membership in Courage or years of therapy to overcome homosexuality is no guarantee. Nor is the rejection of identifiable terms such as 'gay' in favor of 'ssa'.
Fr. Z says "This bridge is closed!" A probable reference to Fr. Martin's book - although I don't think the bridge is closed, and it never has been. Priests, bishops - even cardinals - with great sympathy for homosexuals, have always admitted these men, or encouraged their vocations. Because, at one time or another, they have been encouraged to consider a vocation to priesthood or religious life, the candidates themselves will seek out and find persons willing to admit them and write letters of recommendation. Not a few become priests within monastic or religious communities, only to leave for diocesan work. Few question that sort of instability.
People may ask, 'what about gay men already ordained?' I agree with the Pope when he responded to that question years ago, "Who am I to judge?" Unless of course they break the law or have sex with underage young men, engage in public sin, create scandal, and so on. That said, there are wonderful priests who are gay - or rather, experience same sex attraction. They do just fine. The Pope is talking about reforming a 'system' which admits men with deep seated homosexual tendencies.
I've gone back and forth on this issue, but after all these years of blogging and reading the literature, as well as seeing several priests fall from grace and leave the priesthood, I am convinced the Church should not ordain gay men. I wanted always to be charitable and to believe that maybe the rules should be bent for this one or that one, but I can't say that now. It's a delusion to overlook all the evidence against the practice today.
“If you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”. The Holy Father is right. And it is not homophobia to insist upon that.