A Source of Scandal

The Vatican's document on gays in the priesthood represents a purge. A gay priest asks: Where is the message of Jesus in it?

The recently leaked Vatican


concerning the entrance of gay men into Catholic seminaries and religious orders was far worse than what I had expected.

Contrary to some media reports that focused on the Vatican's banning of "sexually active" gay men from the seminaries (anyone--straight or gay--who enters the seminary must be celibate) and stories that zeroed in on "transitory" gays (another way of speaking about basically straight men), the document has a far simpler and more wide-ranging goal: the banning of any man who understands himself as gay. The document explicitly bars those who have "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies."

This is about as broad a ban as you could imagine.

The instruction will have a lasting effect on three groups of men.

First, no matter how it is applied or interpreted or read by superiors and seminary rectors, this document will have the immediate effect of turning away any gay man who understands that he is gay. Any healthy, emotionally mature gay man will more than likely identify himself as someone with "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies," in the words of the Instruction. For some reason, the rest of the media seem to think the big news is that Vatican bans "sexually active" gays or "transitory gays."


This is utterly beside the point. An honest reading of the document shows that the Vatican is simply banning gays. The "application" of the document, even the portion of the document that says that rectors are ultimately responsible for their men, will be largely meaningless, for this simple reason:

Few emotionally mature gay applicants these days will want to enter.

The only gay men who will enter will be either clueless, closeted, or lying. This is a disastrous way to prepare men for healthy life as a priest, and gives rise to the very environment that everyone wanted to avoid: the repressed, fearful seminary where sexuality is a forbidden topic.

(Bizarrely, the document also contradicts the

Catechism of the Catholic Church
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