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Vatican Prepares To Ban Gay Priests


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Vatican Prepares To Ban Gay Priests

by Malcolm Thornberry 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief

Posted: August 28, 2005 4:00 pm ET

(Vatican City) The Vatican is preparing to bar gays from entering the priesthood and is considering removing those gays who are already priests.

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 earlier this month but was not made public because the Vatican did not want it to conflict with the papal visit to Cologne.

It is the latest attempt to lay blame for the child abuse scandal that for the past several years has rocked the church, particularly in America, at the feet of gays.

In the past the church has been silent on the issue of gay priests, believing the vow of celibacy that all priests take, was sufficient.

People within the church who are familiar with the workings of the Vatican say that it is doubtful the document contains a condemnation of homosexuality. Instead, it is expected that it has been written in careful language to appear pastoral rather than accusatory.

"It will not be an attack on the gay 'lifestyle'," John Haldane, professor of moral philosophy at the University of St Andrews, told the British newspaper The Observer.

" It will not say 'homosexuality is immoral'. But it will suggest that admitting gay men into the priesthood places a burden both on those who are homosexual and those they are working alongside who are not."

Whether the directive will be signed off by the Pope is not known. The document has already been rewritten several times, but Benedict has made the abuse scandal a key priority.

Next month the Benedict will send investigators to the US to gauge the scale of the scandal and to determine how many gay priests are in the priesthood.

Since his election to the papacy in April, Benedict has reaffirmed the Church's anti-gay stand. In June, he issued a stinging condemnation of gay and lesbian families. (story)

Repeatedly driving home his point that marriage can only be a union between man and woman, the Pope called same-sex unions "pseudo-matrimony".

Before becoming Pope, Benedict had long history of attacking same-sex unions. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was the Vatican's most outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

Ratzinger was the author of the a 2003 Vatican directive to priests around the world calling for a proactive stand to stop governments from legalizing same-sex marriage and for a repeal of those those already on the books that give rights, including adoption, to gay couples. (story)

The 12 page document called on Catholic bishops and lawmakers to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions.

He opposes contraception and the use of condoms to combat HIV/AIDS, advocates a diminished role for women in the Church and has called for mandatory celibacy for priests.

In 1999 he ordered two Americans, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, to end their associated with New Ways Ministry which provides educational programs for gay and lesbian Catholics nationwide.

Prior to the Pope's visit to Cologne, as part of World Youth Day earlier this month, European gay groups tried to arrange a meeting with Benedict in an effort to resolve their differences. The Vatican never acknowledged the invitation.

©365Gay.com 2005


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