Friday, April 26, 2002

Thanks to E.L. Core of The View from the Core for this link to CNS which gives the details of the 1961 directive alluded to below:

Archbishop Bertone said that while the homosexual inclination is not sinful in itself, it "evokes moral concern" because it is a strong temptation to actions that "are always in themselves evil."

He defined the homosexual inclination as "a temptation that, for whatever reason, has become so predominant in a person's life as to become a force shaping the entire outlook of the person."

"Persons with a homosexual inclination should not be admitted to the seminary," Archbishop Bertone said.

In 1961, a Vatican document on the selection of candidates to the priesthood said much the same thing. The instruction was issued by the then-Sacred Congregation for Religious and concerned those entering religious orders.

"Those affected by the perverse inclination to homosexuality or pederasty should be excluded from religious vows and ordination," it said. It said the community life and priestly ministry would constitute a "grave danger" or temptation for these people.

The document recommended that any person with serious unresolved sexual problems be screened out, saying that the chastity and celibacy required by religious and priestly life would constitute for them a "continuous heroic act and a painful martyrdom."

The 1961 document has never been abrogated, so is still technically valid, officials said. But now, the Vatican is considering a reformulation of these principles, so that the message gets through more clearly to local churches.