Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY
HOMOSEXUALS are to be banned from becoming Roman Catholic priests under a ruling endorsed by the Pope.
Candidates for the priesthood will be asked to declare their sexual orientation and seminaries will be able to use psychological testing to check their students' sexuality.
The instruction will be issued next month after a meeting of bishops in Rome.
It will say that gay men are unsuitable for the priesthood because 'their condition suggests a personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers'.
Those already ordained will be instructed to renew their commitment to celibacy. Catholic leaders in England, who have appeared reluctant to embrace the new Pope's hard line on the issue, remained silent yesterday.
Gay activists, however, reacted angrily.
Dr Timothy Potts, a homosexual Catholic from Leeds, said: 'The most reliable estimate we have for the numbers of gay clergy is about 50 per cent.
'This document means there is going to be a real dearth of priests. They are simply going to make sure that there are even fewer priests. The Church will fade out.' Two years ago Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, published a document which condemned homosexual relationships as 'evil'. The 78-year- old pontiff, nicknamed 'God's rottweiler' because of his unyielding defence of orthodox Catholic teaching, is believed to have approved the latest instruction at the end of August. …