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Vatican Reportedly 'Softening' Stand On Gay Priests

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Vatican Reportedly 'Softening' Stand On Gay Priests

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: October 7, 2005 11:00 am ET

(Rome) The Vatican may be preparing to step back from its threatened all-out ban on gay priests but the conditions may be impossible to meet.

Investigators for the Church are currently probing America's 229 seminaries to root out gays.

The threat that the Catholic Church was embarking on a pogrom against gay clergy first arose this summer when new regulations submitted to Pope Benedict for his approval suggested that gays should not be considered for the priesthood. (story)

The inquiry into gays in seminaries is seen as a witch hunt to blame gay priests for the sex abuse scandal which has enveloped the Church.

On Friday, Corriere della Sera, a major Italian newspaper with close ties to the Vatican, reported that a total ban on gay priests may be relaxed to permit gays to take their vows if they can prove they have been celibate for at least three years. It does not say how gay, or suspected gay priests, would be expected to prove they were celibate.

The paper also says that men who "publicly manifest their homosexuality" or show an "overwhelming attraction" to homosexual culture [even if only intellectually]" would be banned.

The report prompted one American gay priest, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, to suggest that any man who watched the TV show "Will & Grace" or collected Cher or Bette Midler records could be barred from the priesthood.

The Vatican has not commented on the Corriere della Sera report.

The new regulations for the priesthood were prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries - the body that oversees all Catholic seminaries.

The document was delivered to Pope Benedict in August but is subject to revisions and there is no timetable for its release or implementation.

©365Gay.com 2005

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