Thursday, September 22, 2005

Roman Catholic Priesthood in USA: four articles and statistics

New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests

Ian Fisher and Laurie Goodstein

New York Times 22 September 2005

ROME, Sept. 21 - Homosexuals, even those who are celibate, will be barred from becoming Roman Catholic priests, a church official said Wednesday, under stricter rules soon to be released on one of the most sensitive issues facing the church.
The official, said the question was not "if it will be published, but when," referring to the new ruling about homosexuality in Catholic seminaries, a topic that has stirred much recent rumor and worry in the church. The official, who has authoritative knowledge of the new rules, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the church's policy of not commenting on unpublished reports.
He said that while Pope Benedict XVI had not yet signed the document, it would probably be released in the next six weeks.
In addition to the new document, which will apply to the church worldwide, Vatican investigators have been instructed to visit each of the 229 seminaries in the United States.
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.
The church official said the ban would pertain only to candidates for the priesthood, not to those already ordained. He also said the document did not represent any theological shift for the church, whose catechism considers homosexuality "objectively disordered."
Although the document has not been released, hints of what it will say are already drawing praise from some Catholics, who contend that such a move is necessary to restore the church's credibility and who note that church teaching bars homosexuals, active or not, from the priesthood.
Other Catholics say, though, that the test should be celibacy, not innate sexuality, and they predict resignations from the priesthood that can worsen the church's deep shortage of clergy.
"I'm hearing that some men will choose to leave, because if they don't, it would be like living a lie," said the Rev. Robert Silva, president of the American National Federation of Priests' Councils, who opposes a ban because it would be "extremely hurtful" to chaste gay priests who are serving the church.
But the church official who discussed the expected new rules said the document called for barring even celibate men who considered themselves homosexual because of what he contended were the specific temptations of seminaries.
"The difference is in the special atmosphere of the seminary," he said. "In the seminary, you are surrounded by males, not females."
The issue of homosexuality in the priesthood and seminaries has long been a difficult one, which the Vatican appears to be addressing, particularly in the United States, on two apparently connected fronts.
The visits to the American seminaries cover a wide range of concerns, but among those the investigators will be looking for is "evidence of homosexuality" and whether seminarians are being properly prepared to live celibately. Both the document and the investigation come under the authority of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.
Taken together, the document and visits seem aimed at imposing a stricter standard on both the atmosphere at seminaries and on whom they accept as candidates for the priesthood. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, the congregation's secretary, noted at a meeting in Baltimore last week with more than 100 bishops, priests and lay people that the new rules would come as no surprise because there was an existing Vatican document barring homosexuals from the priesthood, according to two church officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they felt there might be repercussions if they spoke for attribution.
Archbishop Miller appeared to be referring to a 1961 document that recommended against ordaining anyone who has "perverse inclinations to homosexuality or pederasty."
But that document has been overlooked by seminaries in the United States for many years. Although practices vary, most American seminaries in recent years have not uniformly rejected candidates with a homosexual orientation, seminary officials say.
Instead, they try to ascertain case by case whether the candidate is capable of living in a chaste and celibate manner, often rejecting candidates who have been sexually active in the years before deciding to join the priesthood.
Many gay men have entered the priesthood, though, and they are increasingly open with their colleagues, their bishops and in some cases, even with their parishioners, about their sexual orientation. The Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former American seminary rector, contended five years ago in his book "The Changing Face of the Priesthood" that "the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession."
James Hitchcock, a conservative Catholic and a professor of history at St. Louis University, said some seminaries had reached the point of being "openly welcoming of homosexuals" and "don't even regard chastity necessary. "
"In that environment - and then you add to that the pedophilia scandals - probably the Vatican thinks that strong medicine is necessary for a serious disorder," said Mr. Hitchcock, who said he would nonetheless favor a system that allows for rare cases to be decided individually.
In fact, the degree to which the new rules would allow some slack appears to be a major question. It seems clear that the rules will be far more restrictive than current practice.
In what many church experts saw as a hint of the new rules, the archbishop leading the seminary visits was quoted last week by The National Catholic Register as saying even homosexuals not sexually active for a decade or more should not be accepted into seminaries.
But the church official said the rules were not absolute. The very definition of homosexuality, he said, is not fixed. And there may be rare cases in which a prospective seminarian who is confused about his sexuality might be accepted if the church decided he would still make a suitable, celibate priest.
"There is room for this," he said.
Still, Father Silva of the Federation of Priests' Councils and three other church officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared they would lose their jobs if they revealed dissension within church ranks, said several influential American church leaders had tried to persuade Vatican officials not to release a document about gay seminarians because it would create more problems in the priesthood than it would solve.
"People would do what they used to do, which is not be honest," said a gay American priest and professor at a Catholic college who did not want to be identified because he fears he could lose his church position if his sexual orientation was known.
"The irony is, if you look at the exact ages and seminary graduating classes of those priests who were convicted of sexual abuse in the past few years, they were not on the whole people who entered seminaries in the 1980's, when there began to be more openness about homosexuality," he said. "These were people from the old closeted days.
"So what the church is doing is repeating, in a weird way, the conditions they had before that gave rise to the abuse crisis."
But any move to ban or limit gay men from serving as priests would probably be popular among conservative Catholics, some of whom contend that heterosexuals hesitate to enter the priesthood because they have heard it is predominantly gay.
Mike Sullivan, of Catholics United for the Faith, a conservative advocacy group, said his group would favor a ban because putting a homosexual in an all-male seminary environment subjects that person to too much temptation, and increases his likelihood for failure.
"It's not appropriate to put an alcoholic in a bar either," he said.
On the general issue of homosexuality, official Catholic teaching, as explained in the catechism, says that while some people appear to have a predilection toward same-sex attraction, homosexual acts are impermissible and that homosexuals should remain chaste. But the church has also counseled understanding, and in 1986, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed then by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, denounced the "unfounded and demeaning assumption" that homosexuals could not control their sexual behavior.
The church official said, however, that the church was entitled to make its own decisions, based on theology, about who is allowed to be a priest, comparing the issue to that of women, who are barred from the priesthood as well.
"Being a priest is not a right," he said. "The Catholic Church never ordains anyone on the conception of human rights."
Ian Fisher reported from Rome for this article, and Laurie Goodstein from New York.

U.S. Bishops to Begin Inspecting Seminaries

Wayne Laugsen

National Catholic Register September 18 2005

WASHINGTON — The bishop overseeing a Vatican-ordered inspection of U.S. seminaries said there is no room there for men with strong homosexual inclinations. And an apostolic visitation that begins this month will seek to determine whether seminaries are enrolling them.“I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary,” Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, who’s coordinating the visits of more than 220 seminaries and houses of formation, told the Register.Archbishop O’Brien, who heads the Archdiocese for Military Services USA, said even homosexuals who have been celibate for 10 or more years should not be admitted to seminaries.“The Holy See should be coming out with a document about this,” Archbishop O’Brien said.The visitations were sparked by the sexual abuse scandal that hit the U.S. Church in 2002.In a 2002 speech, Pope John Paul II linked the abuse scandals with seminary instruction and called for the exclusion of seminary candidates with observable “deviations in their affections.”“It would be lamentable if, out of a misunderstood tolerance, they ordained young men who are immature or have obvious signs of affective deviations that, as is sadly known, could cause serious anomalies in the consciences of the faithful, with evident damage for the whole Church,” the Holy Father said.His words echoed a 1961 instruction to the superiors of religious communities on “Careful Selection and Training of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders.”That document states: “Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”A February 2004 report commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board noted that 81% of the reported victims of child sexual abuse by clergy from 1950 to 2002 were boys.The findings strengthened the argument made by many observers that at the heart of the sexual abuse problem was a strong presence of homosexuals in the priesthood.In his address to U.S. cardinals called to a special summit on abuse at the Vatican in 2002, Pope John Paul II said Catholics “must know that bishops and priests are totally committed to the fullness of Catholic truth on matters of sexual morality, a truth as essential to the renewal of the priesthood and the episcopate as it is to the renewal of marriage and family life.”The U.S. bishops have directed that the visitations pay special attention to areas such as the quality of the seminarians’ human and spiritual formation for living chastely and of their intellectual formation for faithfulness to Church teachings, especially in the area of moral theology.The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminary formation around the world, has appointed 117 bishops and seminary personnel as visitors — all from the United States. They are to visit each college- or theology-level institution, working in teams of three for smaller programs or four for the larger ones.Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl called the new visitations´ focus on celibacy a “significant difference” from the last such visitations in 1981.Writing in America magazine when the new visitation was first proposed in 2002, Bishop Wuerl cited the abuse charter that directs bishops: “These new visits will focus on the question of human formation for celibate chastity based on the criteria found in Pastores Dabo Vobis (1992).”Wrote Bishop Wuerl: “It is clear that the visitation will not encompass all the areas recognized in Pastores Dabo Vobis as points of development: intellectual, pastoral, spiritual and human formation,” as the last one did. “Rather this visitation will address human formation for celibate chastity.”The de-emphasis on chastity in the 1981 visitation led some to call it a “whitewash.”Archbishop O’Brien disagreed. He participated as a visitor in the ’80s, while serving as rector of the New York archdiocesan seminary, St. Joseph’s in Yonkers, and said it was a net plus for participating seminaries.“Probably the most valuable work is done in preparation for the visit,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “Seminaries know what the Holy See is looking for, and they have ample time, if they’re not meeting some of the standards, to make those standards a reality, and that’s what happened in the ’80s. Once the visits took place, most things were in place.”Archbishop O’Brien said that in the new visitations, interviews will be conducted on an anonymous basis in order that truth can be told without fear of retribution.“The seminarians themselves will be key players to this whole thing,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “They’ll be questioned individually, and if we get 50 out of 60 saying this was the case when I came in and this is the way it is now, there’s reason for credibility there.”Ultimately, the visits and individual reports will culminate in a final overview report that will be published by the Congregation for Education and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Archbishop O’Brien said the final report may come several years after the visits are completed.Archbishop O’Brien said neither he nor the rectors will see the individual reports from the seminaries going to the Vatican.He then added, “Rome will review it, and if they have concerns they’ll be in touch with the bishop or the religious superior about it.”

Seminaries to be a part of Vatican evaluation

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette September 18, 2005

By Ann Rodgers,

Three Western Pennsylvania seminaries will be evaluated during the next five months in a Vatican study prompted by the Catholic sexual abuse scandals that erupted in 2002.
U.S. bishops requested the study, which will examine the psychological, spiritual, intellectual and sexual factors that shape priests.
One of the study's 55 questions -- and one of only six mandatory ones -- concerns whether there is "evidence of homosexuality in the seminary." This has drawn fire from those who fear that the evaluation is a witch hunt to purge gay seminarians.
"The Vatican continues to be obsessed about homosexuality," said Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA, a group for gay Catholics.
"The church is fostering a climate of hostility towards some of its very best priests and bishops. This is not the church Christ called us to be," she said.
But local seminary rectors say the study will evaluate the full range of requirements for priesthood. The consideration of homosexuality may be more nuanced than it appears on paper, said the Rev. James Wehner, rector of St. Paul Seminary in East Carnegie, where Pittsburgh's undergraduate seminarians live.
"It's not a black-and-white issue," Wehner said.
The study focuses on what the church calls "human formation" -- cultivating the character and conduct expected of a priest, said the Rev. Kurt Belsole, rector of St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, where 68 students are doing graduate work.
"It means they have to be a good human being before they can be a good priest," he said.
The church speaks of "formation" rather than "education" because seminary training is supposed to go beyond academics, to shape a soul and personality. In addition to classes, St. Vincent seminarians attend 10 conferences each semester on topics such as celibate life, the virtue of courage, and cultivating a habit of prayer.
Belsole is "very confident" that his school will receive a glowing report.
Three years ago St. Vincent did its own evaluation of how it lined up against the 1992 Vatican document on priestly formation.
"We are doing everything they asked us to," he said.
The visitation begins this month and continues through next year. Ss. Cyril & Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary on the North Side, which has seven Eastern Catholic students, will receive the first local visit Nov. 6-11. St. Vincent will be visited Jan. 15-20. St. Paul, with 11 seminarians, is scheduled for Feb. 5-11.
A 2004 study of child molestation accusations against priests revealed that 4,392 priests were accused of molesting 10,667 minors between 1950 and 2002, with the bulk of offenses in the 1970s. The fact that 81 percent of the victims were male, coupled with reports of a "gay culture" at some seminaries, led some bishops and Vatican officials to conclude that the underlying problem was homosexuality. There have been reports that the Vatican plans to ban gay men from seminary.
But there have been mixed signals. In April 2003 top Vatican officials heard presentations from eight international experts on pedophilia, who said that homosexuality did not cause men to molest minors. Consequently, some sources say the Vatican has backed off a complete ban.
But Archbishop Edward O'Brien of the Military Archdiocese, who is overseeing the seminary study, said last week that it would be better if gay men did not apply to seminary.
"The pressures are strong in an all-male atmosphere," he said. "And if there have been past failings, the church really must stay on the safe side . . . The same-sex attractions have gotten us into some legal problems."
Wehner cautioned against reading too much into O'Brien's remarks.
"He is being very general. I would not challenge what he said, but I think we need to be more specific. You can have an orientation and never engage in homosexual acts. And you can have some young man who has too much to drink and engages in perversions he never would otherwise. That doesn't mean he's gay," Wehner said.
Nearly 120 bishops and priests have been trained to carry out the visitations. There are 229 seminaries, and each visit is to last at least four days. The visitors are to confidentially interview all faculty and students, and give all graduates of the past three years the opportunity for an interview.
Their secret report is to be submitted to the Vatican, which will draft an evaluation for the local bishop or religious superior, who can challenge its findings before a final report is issued. A general letter to the U.S. bishops will give an overall assessment of "current priestly formation in the USA."
The point stressed most strongly in the 11-page working document is that the local bishop or superior is ultimately responsible for evaluating his seminarians, and that he must get to know them. There have been reports of U.S. bishops who do not meet their seminarians until they are on the verge of ordination.
"The bishop will not fail to visit the seminary frequently," the document says.
"On the basis of these direct contacts he will ensure that the seminaries form mature and balanced personalities, men capable of establishing sound human and pastoral relationships, knowledgeable in theology, solid in the spiritual life, and in love with the church."
The six mandatory questions concern whether psychological testing is used for admission, whether students or faculty "have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution," whether there is "evidence of homosexuality in the seminary," whether there is "adequate formation" for a life of "celibate chastity," whether seminarians are "capable of dialoguing, on the intellectual level, with contemporary society."
The final one concerns whether the seminary checks for canonical "impediments or irregularities for Holy Orders" -- such as a psychiatric illness or a severely troubled history in a past marriage that was annulled -- especially among older candidates.
The other 49 range from whether authoritative church teaching is promoted and accepted to how seminarians conduct themselves off campus. One asks whether the seminary teaches "a proper understanding of the role of women in ecclesial life."
That doesn't mean only explaining the ban on women's ordination, but making sure that the seminarians appreciate and support all that women can do in the church, Wehner said.
"Eighty percent of the church is run by women, so we have to be able to work with women, and those relationships have to be healthy and appropriate," he said.
Wehner believes that St. Paul "exceeds the standards."
Applicants are rigorously evaluated before admission, and are re-evaluated at numerous points along the way, Wehner said. For at least 20 years the school has used an outside psychologist to conduct a battery of psychological tests. Confidential evaluations from people who know the candidate well are gathered before admission and before ordination, he said.
"I conduct the personal history interview. We talk about everything from use of drugs to dating experiences," Wehner said.
"They might be very pastoral, but are they capable of living a celibate life that is happy, healthy and holy? We don't want unhappy celibates."
Wehner said he has sent men away because they lacked the maturity or other personal qualities necessary for priesthood. One issue he looks closely at is whether they have friends their own age, since failure to mature emotionally has been linked to child sexual abuse and other problems.
Wehner does not think that good men who happen to be shy or eccentric will be rejected in the zeal to keep out the unfit.
"This is not a test of who has the best social skills. We're looking at dysfunction, rather than awkwardness or quirkiness," he said.

Homosexual orientation among Roman Catholic seminarian students


A Vatican document of 1961 bars persons with homosexual orientation from ordination and religious vows. However, this document appears to have been almost completely ignored. 1
It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of priests, with a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation, do not molest or sexually abuse young people.

Some definitions:

We will most frequently use the rather awkward term "person with a homosexual orientation," in this essay to avoid confusion. Terms like "Gay" and "homosexual," are ambiguous.
To many conservative Christians, homosexuality is interpreted in terms of behavior. A homosexual is a person who engages in same-sex behavior.
To most others, including religious liberals, gays, lesbians, human sexuality researchers, and mental health therapists, homosexuality is interpreted in terms of sexual orientation. The term refers to a person who is attracted to persons of the same gender. A homosexual may choose to be celibate, or may be sexually active.

What percentage of seminary students have a homosexual orientation?

As noted in an essay on priests with a homosexual orientation in the Roman Catholic priesthood, estimates range from "perhaps more than 10%" to 58%. It is generally recognized that a larger percentage of seminary students have a homosexual orientation. However, nobody knows with any degree of accuracy.
Men with a homosexual orientation might be attracted to the Roman Catholic priesthood for a variety of reasons:
Most probably feel deeply that they have a definite calling by God to become priests.
Some may be attracted by the "caring and nurturing nature of the priesthood, which is part of the nature of ministry." 2
The current bar against marriage for priests has no inhibiting influence, as it does among potential priests with a heterosexual orientation.
Priests are generally respected by the public. Being ordained gives homosexuals instant relief from the persecution that they had experienced as laity.
The priesthood gives them protection from homophobia and the potential of physical assault. Much of the public assumes that many middle-aged and older men who have never been married are gay. Thus, the priesthood becomes a safe place to hide their sexual orientation.
The Roman Catholic priesthood may be attractive to persons with a homosexual orientation because, at this time, is an all-male institution. They would feel comfortable there.
Some seminary students might be attracted by the homosexual sub-culture of most seminaries -- a culture that is probably not present in schools that train for other professions.
It is possible that some predatory candidates for the priesthood might seek ordination because it would give them a position of power over the laity and give them access to many children.
At this time, the Roman Catholic Church does not normally exclude male candidates for seminary because they have a homosexual orientation. The one exception is believed to be St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. 3 At least one seminary, University of St. Mary of the Lake, IL, a.k.a. Mundelein Seminary, accepts students with a homosexual orientation, but not those who admit to frequenting gay bars. 4 However, while in seminary and after ordination, all students are expected to remain celibate.

With the church's current requirement of priestly chastity, seminaries are having difficulty recruiting heterosexuals to the priesthood.

Father Donald Cozzens wrote that several studies have concluded that about 50% of priests and seminarians are gay. 5
David France of Newsweek, referring to St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA, wrote: "Depending on whom you ask, gay and bisexual men make up anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of the student body at the college and graduate levels." 3
Rt. Rev. Helmut Hefner, rector of St. Johns Seminary "accepts that his gay enrollment may be as high as 50 percent." 3
Gay journalist Rex Wockner commented: "When I was in the Catholic seminary in my early 20s (St. Meinrad College, St. Meinrad, Ind., 1982-1983; University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill., 1983-1984), at least 50 percent of the students were gay....At St. Mary of the Lake, the straight students felt like a minority and felt excluded from some aspects of campus life to such an extent that the administration staged a seminar at which we discussed the problem of the straight students feeling left out of things..." 6
Author and sociologist James G. Wolfe estimated that 55.1% of seminarians were gay. 7
Bishop Jerome Listecki is an auxiliary bishop of Chicago, rejects some estimates that as many as 50% of seminarians have a homosexual orientation. 3
It would seem that about 50% of present-day seminary students have a homosexual orientation.

Does the gay sub-culture in seminaries affect heterosexual seminarians?

Many priests and theologians have commented about the gay sub-cultures in Catholic seminaries:
An anonymous priest from the Boston area commented in an interview with Joe Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald: "there's a subculture of gay priests and everyone knows it. I went through seminary with a lot of them and got hit on. And when I reported it, I was harassed to a point where, emotionally, it was very difficult to get ordained. I'm not the only one who had to fight to get through it; I know guys who left because of it. It was clear there was a cabal tacitly saying, 'Don't bother reporting this stuff.' You wouldn't believe the self-justifications, like, 'Well, celibacy only applies to not getting married, so since we're not getting married we can do whatever we want.' It was horrible, with a lot of intimidation, but I stayed because I felt this was what God was calling me to do; besides, if I'd walked, they'd have won." 8
Father McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame, commented that some seminary students "...who feel they have a genuine vocation for priesthood go into a seminary and feel very alienated by the gay culture. I don't say this in any homophobic sense. It's just the reality." 2
Pope John Paul II held a meeting with the American cardinals which dealt with the clerical sex scandals. Afterward, Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said: "One of the difficulties we do face in seminary life or recruitment is made possible when there does exist a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexual men think twice [about entering.] It is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men." 9
R. Scott Appleby, a history professor at Notre Dame, said: "People I know quite well have left the seminary either in disgust because people are not keeping vows, or in alienation because they’re not gay. In some cases it’s a serious problem." 3
The Most Rev. Wilton Gregory said: "[T]here does exist a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexual men think twice." 3
The Rev. Charles Bouchard, president of the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis said: "I think straight priests and seminarians shouldn’t be whining. I just don’t think it’s a big deal." 3
Father Donald Cozzens wrote: "What impact does the gay subcultrue have on the straight priest and seminarian?....straight men in a predominantly or significantly gay environment commonly experience chronic destabilization, a common symptom of which is self doubt...Their psychic confusion, understandably, has significant implications for both their spiritual vitality and emotional balance." 10
Timothy Radcliffe, Master of the Order of Preachers, commented on the emergence of a homosexual sub-culture within a seminary or religious order: "It can threaten the unity of the community; it can make it harder for the brethren to practice the chastity which we have vowed. It can put pressure on brethren to think of themselves in a way that is not central to their vocation as preachers of the Kingdom..." 11

Exclusion of homosexuals from the priesthood:

According to a Vatican document issued in 1961, approved by Pope John XXIII on 1961-JAN-23: "Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers." 12 The document "was promulgated by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Religious on February 2, 1961. The same document is published in its entirety, in English, in the Canon Law Digest, Volume V (Bruce Publishing Co, 1963), pages 452 to 486." 13 The wording of the report is ambiguous, because it is not clear whether its use of the term "homosexuality" refers to the candidate's orientation or behavior. Irrespective of which is the correct interpretation, this exclusion seems to be totally ignored at most North American seminaries.

What does the future hold?

In 2002-MAR, the chief spokesman for Pope John Paul II, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, told The New York Times that better psychological screening and upgraded training in church seminaries would do little to reduce the number of priests with a homosexual orientation. He appears to propose that homosexuals be refused ordination. He suggests that the church become "less welcoming" of gays...People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained. That does not imply a final judgment on people with homosexuality. But you cannot be in this field." 5

Associated essay:
Roman Catholic priests with a homosexual orientation.

1 "Careful Selection And Training Of Candidates For The States Of Perfection And Sacred Orders: (S. C. Rel., 2 Feb., 1961)." Online at:
2 "Gay Priests," Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, 2002-MAY-10, at:
3 David France, "Gays and the Seminary," MSNBC, 2002-MAY-20, at:
4 "Catholic Seminary Admissions Tighten in Scandal," The Data Lounge, 2002-MAR-27, at:
5 "Vatican threatens gay purge of priesthood," The Data Lounge, 2002-MAR-6, at:
6 Rex Wockner, "The end of Catholicism in America," PlanetOut, at:
7 James G. Wolf, "Gay Priests," Harper and Row, 1989, Pages 59-60. Cited in Father Donald Cozzens, "The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A reflection on the priest's crisis of soul," Liturgical Press, (2000), Page 99.
8 Joe Fitzgerald, "Priest fears gays in ranks pose threat to Church," Boston Herald, 2002-MAR-6, at:
9 Melinda Henneberger, "Pope delivers apology to victims of sex abuse," New York Times, 2002-APR-24, at:,homepage
10 Op Cit, Father Donald Cozzens, Page 101.
11 Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., "The Promise of Life," International Dominican Information, # 361, 1998-APR, special number, A Letter to the Order, Page 96.
12 "Careful Selection And Training Of Candidates For The States Of Perfection And Sacred Orders: (S. C. Rel., 2 Feb., 1961)." Online at:
13 John Vennari, "Found: 1961 Vatican Document Barring Homosexuals from Ordination and Religious Vows," 2002-MAY-28, at:
Copyright © 2002 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious ToleranceOriginally written: 2002-MAY-14Latest update: 2005-JUL-27Author: B.A. Robinson

U.S. Data
Diocesan priests
Religious priests
Total priests
Priestly ordinations
Graduate-level seminarians
Permanent deacons
Religious brothers
Religious sisters
Without a resident priest
Catholic population
45.6 m
48.7 m
52.3 m
57.4 m
59.9 m
64.8 m
Percent of U.S. population
Catholic elementary schools
Students in Catholic elementary schools
Catholic secondary schools
Students in Catholic secondary schools
Gallup Poll: Yearly average percent of Catholics who say they attended Mass in the last seven days (i.e., those attending in any given week).
CARA Catholic Poll (CCP): Yearly average percent of Catholics who say they attended Mass once a week or more (i.e., those attending every week).

World Data
Diocesan priests
Religious priests
Total priests
Diocesan priestly ordinations
Graduate-level seminarians
Permanent deacons
Religious brothers
Religious sisters
Without a resident priest
Catholic population
Percent of world population
World Values Survey: Population weighted percentage of adult Catholics who say they attended Mass once a week or more (i.e., those attending every week) in the 38 largest Catholic population nations.



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