Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Admission to the Seminary and Priesthood

The 2005 "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders," published by the Congregation for Catholic Education addresses the question of those with SSA and their possible service as a priest in the Catholic Church.

The document teaches that "those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture' do not possess the qualities for formation as a Catholic priest.

The Instruction offers two criteria for excluding someone with SSA from entrance to seminary formation for the priesthood: homosexual practice and self-identification with the "gay subculture." The Instruction recognizes that SSA is not a uniform phenomenon, and thus the Instruction does not contain a universal prohibition; it does call for careful discernment in each individual case. Additionally, the Instruction provides a standard of three years of chaste living before the ordination to the diaconate as a criterion of affective maturity in light of celibate chastity.

When a candidate makes known by admission or behavior that he supports a "gay lifestyle and agenda", it is the bishop's duty to refuse to admit him to a seminary. As always, those charged with the discernment and formation of seminarians have the responsibility to make prudential judgments about individuals who present themselves for ordination to the priesthood.

(Source: Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice by Fr. John F. Harvey, OSFS)

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