No Ban on Gays Expected in Vatican Document

By Allen, John L., Jr. | National Catholic Reporter, October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

No Ban on Gays Expected in Vatican Document


Allen, John L., Jr., National Catholic Reporter


A forthcoming Vatican document on homosexuals in seminaries will not demand an absolute ban, a senior Vatican official told NCR Oct. 7, but will insist that seminary officials exercise "prudential judgment" that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases.

Those three cases are:

* If a candidate has not demonstrated a capacity to live a celibate life for at least three years;

* If he is 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 his 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 an Oct. 7 report 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. …

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