Pope Proposes Excluding Active Gays from Seminaries
Evidently Pope Francis has been thinking about the Church’s child abuse problem – a problem which overwhelmingly involves male children. In a private meeting with Italian bishops, he said that “men with ‘deeply rooted’ homosexual tendencies, or who ‘practice homosexual acts,’ shouldn’t be allowed into the seminary” (here). This is noteworthy in several ways.
First, it has been the Church’s position that homosexuality was not related to their abuse problem. This might account for why the pope’s special commission on child abuse failed to make such recommendations over their four-year term. This appears to have been the pope’s own idea, which came to him after more than five years on the job. (The pope maintains that as archbishop of Argentina, he had no abuse problems to contemplate.)
Priests take a vow of celibacy, as they are married to Christ. That’s why priests cannot be married. According to the Bible, even run-of-the-mill adultery is a capital crime; cheating on Christ is presumably worse. It was always assumed that seminary students would be celibate, but this is not a requirement. In fact, seminaries have become infamous as gay clubs.
Many have proposed tightening the rules. Some seminaries have prohibited students from using gay hook-up apps in the dining room. But while public use is considered unseemly, private use is still allowed. Pope Francis is apparently contemplating much stronger rules. Given the laxity of enforcement of rules regarding pederasty and its cover-up, it seems unlikely that stringent rules would be enforced. The Church is already suffering from low enrollments at seminaries. Making a serious attempt to screen out homosexuals would greatly aggravate their problem.