Homosexual candidates, the seminary and the priesthood

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Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.


On November 29th the Congregation for Catholic Education in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and with the approval of Benedict XVI issued an instruction on the admission of homosexual candidates to the seminary and Holy Orders. The instruction is singular in purpose: "whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies." The instruction is a document for the entire world and should not be read as addressed only to the church in the United States. The instruction is clear that active homosexuals cannot be admitted to seminaries or ordination. Neither can those who support "gay culture." Although not defined, this term likely assumes that a self-defined gay man intends to be sexually active and might have a personal agenda in conflict with church teaching. "Gay" came into popular usage in the 1970s and frequently denotes a homosexual person who is sexually active. However, this is not always the case, as "gay" is sometimes used to suggest a homosexual person who embraces their orientation. A homosexual orientation (a word not used in the instruction) was created in 1869 as is defined by Webster's New World dictionary as "sexual desire for those of the same sex as oneself." It usually and only indicates the direction of one's sexual interest, largely dictated by biological, psychological, and social factors.