Catholic Church bans gays from seminaries

The Catholic Church has banned homosexuals from entering seminaries and those currently in seminaries will be removed, according to this report on the Catholic World News Web site.

The story has yet to fully hit the mainstream press, but that will change soon. has picked it up, as has The Advocate and Newsday.

Predictions on how the mainstream press will handle this? And please try to keep the debate to the press’s reaction, not the rightness or wrongness of this decision (go here, here, or here to debate that).

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  • Bob Smietana

    The mainstream press wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they don’t consider the pragmatic aspects of this decisions. How will this decision affected the growing shortage of priests. Will priests who are gay be removed from active service? This may draw the spotlight even brighter on the disasterously low levels of priest, and the every growing shortage.

    They’ve also got to ask whether gays are being scapegoated for the sex abuse scandal–will the Vactican also weed out those bishops who created the conditions for the scandel to continue by moving sex offending priests from parish to parish.

  • Steve Nicoloso

    Mainstream media will see this as a change in policy, even though it technically is not. Sad that this is only to be expected when it takes 40 years to get around to enforcing “instructions” already on the “books”. I wonder tho’ what is meant (by the Vatican) by “men with homosexual tendancies”. There would seem to be an entire spectrum of disorder, as understood by Church teaching (including relatively benign disorder), that could fall under such a phrase.

    Get out yer umbrellas…

  • Matt

    NYT: Angle will be about B16. “Does this show the direction of the new pope?”

    WSJ (Houses of worship column): Its about time. Maybe this will stop the negative growth in vocations in the U.S.A.

    SF Chronicle: The Catholic church is out of step with the times and its hostility to the LGBTG community has to go.

  • Lucas Sayre

    I’m just suprised the media hasn’t picked up on this story and really ran with it. I know it will pick up, but the delay seems puzzling.

  • mark

    I wholeheartedly agree with the pope,when I was gay I had totally differe t feelings towards the church families then I do now being no longer gay but Christian,

  • dpulliam

    More on this later, but the NYT had the story this morning. Key graph:

    Although work on the document began years ago under Pope John Paul II, who died in April, its release will be a defining act in the young papacy of Benedict, a conservative who said last spring that there was a need to “purify” the church after the deeply damaging sex scandals of the last several years.

  • Sean Gallagher

    A note about the report in the Catholic World News. There was no source attributed for the information reported, not even an unnamed source. That could simply be due to poor reporting. It could also be evidence of speculation based on rumors its reporters picked up. In any case, the text of the report is unclear on this point.

    I bring this up because, like secular governments, the Holy See sometimes floats trial balloon versions of various documents out before the actual one is released. We really don’t know yet what it will say.

  • Sean Gallagher

    A correction for my previous comment. I said that the unattributed source in the Catholic World News report could have been due to poor reporting. What I meant to say was that it could have been due to poor writing.

  • tmatt

    The MSM is, IMHO, holding off because of the uncertainty of the sourcing.

    Also, many of the major papers have veteran reporters with deep sources in the US Catholic Bishops Conference. They understand that much of what is currently happening is a process of trial balloons.

    Hang tight. There is much more info still pending, I would imagine.

  • Sean Gallagher

    Here is the URL of a Catholic News Service article that it is making available on its website today that quotes an unnamed Vatican official that there is no firm date for the release of the document in question:

    While putting the uncertainty of the release date in the lede (perhaps to counter speculation both in other areas of the Catholic press in the MSM), the rest of the article puts it in the context of previous statements made by Catholic officials at various levels of the Church’s hierarchy (Navarro-Valls is, after all, a spokesman and not a bishop) in which they either expressed grave concerns about or outrightly rejected admitting homosexuals as seminarians or ordaining them to the priesthood.

  • Michael

    I think we can also expect–both in the MSM and certainly in the conservative media–a connection between the pedophile scandal and purging gays, as if removing all the gays will eliminate all (or even any) of the pedophiles.

  • Dave


    “They’ve also got to ask whether gays are being scapegoated for the sex abuse scandal–will the Vactican also weed out those bishops who created the conditions for the scandel to continue by moving sex offending priests from parish to parish.”

    Maybe the bishops are gay as well.

  • Lucas Sayre

    Mark, do you mean to say that a person cannot be both gay and Christian at the same time?

    Michael, of course the media will draw such a connection, because that is THE entire point of the gay ban. I’m not saying it’s right, but I am saying that is the reasoning they are giving.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I find it hard to call it scape-goating when the abuse cases of priest on boy very much outnumber any of priest on girl. Yet the HIGHEST guess I have seen on gays in the priesthood is 20%. This 20% is apparently the cause of 80-90% of the abuse cases. This dovetails with a set of statistics from the Center for Disease Control which indicates that “homosexuals are far more likely to engage in illegal and socially dangerous behaviour than heterosexuals.”
    But I am sure the liberal mainstream media will go on a search-and-destroy the Church mission over this issue (while, of course, portraying Episcopal bishop Robinson as the perfect husband to a woman, perfect father, and perfect husband -or is it wife- to a man.)

  • Sean Gallagher

    I think we can also expect–both in the MSM and certainly in the conservative media–a connection between the pedophile scandal and purging gays, as if removing all the gays will eliminate all (or even any) of the pedophiles.

    Is the MSM using the word “pedophile” to describe the sex abuse scandal? I know that in today’s NY Times story, they quoted James Hitchcock as describing it in that manner.

    Hitchcock, a relatively traditional Catholic professor at the University of St. Louis, wasn’t being very accurate in using that term since the vast majority of abuse cases were not against pre-pubescent children (which is what defines a pedophile case).

  • Michael

    And Deacon’s approach is exactly the kind of poor reporting we can expect on this story.

    Since there is no evidence that the pedophiles involved in the sex abuse scandal were “gay,” this is really witch hunt. As I said, tossing out “gays” will do little to reduce the actual number of pedophiles since pedophiles–even those who have sex with boys or adolescent males–are probably not people who are either gay or even identify as gay.

    You aren’t going to ferret out pedophiles by searching for Liza CDs. The pedophiles are probably more likely to be the ones coaching soccer or previously serving as Scout masters.

  • Lucas Sayre

    Deacon, FYI, I responded to your comment on my blog.

  • Lucas Sayre

    The discussion seems to have become confused here. Michael’s point would be valid if we were dealing with pedophilia. But, in fact, we are not. The vast majority of cases were priests with young males (pre-teen to young teenager). There is another name for this, but it is not pedophilia.

    So what we are dealing with is a completely inappropriate homosexual relationship, therefore homosexuals are a majority of the culprits.

    This I do not deny. However, this fact alone does not establish the case for a complete gay priest ban.

    Such a ban not only unfairly discriminates against chaste and devoted homosexuals seeking the priesthood (which violates the spirit of the Catechism, paragraph 2358), but it also fails to address the actual problem (lack of chastity) and the root cause (lack of willingness of heterosexuals and homosexuals to sacrifice earthly passions for the eternal truth of God’s calling).

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    To automatically separate pedophiles from homosexual child abusers is a modern politically correct construct. I feel strongly on this issue because a layman youth worker at my parish was abusing young people, mostly quite young and all male. A preference for young people all of the same sex fits the definition of “homosexual” no matter how you try to paper it over. The Church took the blunt of all the nasty publicity but all the abuse cases were in his neighborhood and at the “Y” where he also worked.

  • Michael

    This is why good journalism is in order. In another split between mainstream science/psychology and fringe views, there is plenty of evidence that homosexualy and sexual abuse of boys are not related. Some have theorized that sexual abuse of boys is opportunistic sex, just like in prison. Since priests have greater access to boys, it was boys who becaame the more typical victim. Long-term studies have found no correllation between homosexuality and sexual abuse by priests. Most of abusing priests do not consider themselves gay or self-identify as gay. Thus, a purge of gays is pointless.

    If my premise is wrong, then we need good journalism to prove that. Let’s interview researchers and therapists who are in both the mainstream and on the fringes.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    A man who assaults only young boys can say he is not a homosexual all he wants, but Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a homosexual as “of or characterized by sexual desire for those of the same sex as oneself.” The definition does not differentiate by age. And if these priests were not homosexual–why didn’t they
    assault young girls-as most didn’t.

  • Michael

    Let’s hope the good journalism on this issue relies on more than the Webeter’s dictionary and simplistic understanding of human sexuality.

  • Lucas Sayre

    Deacon, you may say that differentiating between pedophilia and sexual abuse of young teenagers is a modern construct, but logic and science tend to strongly support that distinction. There is a “phila” term for the abuse of young teenagers, but I don’t recall the name at this point.

    But think about it logically. A young child has not developed sexual features, such that a young boy or young girl are sexually very similar. Attraction to a young child therefore is considered a disorder that is not linked to sexual attraction towards male or female, the qualities of which develop later in life, in the pre-teen to teenage years, depending.

    So, under this analysis, as I said before the perps in the Church have for the most part been homosexuals. HOWEVER, Deacon, you have failed to address any of the substantial points made in my comments here, in my post on my blog, or in the comments on my blog.

  • dk

    Today’s Tablet newsletter says:
    “As I write this, the national press in Britain is reporting that the Vatican is to ban homosexuals from becoming priests. For months now, there have been rumours of such a ruling emerging from Rome. However, look a little closely at the stories, and you will see that so far no such rule has been made, no document issued. What we do know, and The
    Tablet makes clear this week, is that a paper is being worked on by the Congregation for Catholic Education but that this is only at draft stage. What it will say when and if it is published is not completely clear yet.”