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Why Men Like Me Should Not Be Priests

I am the sort of man the Catholic Church says shouldn’t be a priest. I experience what the Vatican calls “deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” which, according to the Church, make me an unsuitable candidate for the priesthood. The 2005 Vatican instruction on the question of homosexuality and the priesthood states this clearly: “The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’” This teaching wasn’t new. In 1961, the Vatican declared that men with homosexual inclinations couldn’t be ordained. Seminarians who “sinned gravely against the sixth commandment with a person of the same or opposite sex” were to be “dismissed immediately.”

I take no offense at this teaching. In fact, I agree with it. I’m convinced that if the Church had heeded its own counsel from 1961 and 2005, we wouldn’t be reeling from the shocking headlines of today: “St. John’s Seminary Shakeup Amid Probe Into Sexual Misconduct”; “Victims recount sexual abuse horrors in Chilean seminary”; “Honduran Seminarians Allege Widespread Homosexual Misconduct”; “Vatican cops bust drug-fueled gay orgy at home of cardinal’s aide”; “Man Says Cardinal McCarrick, His ‘Uncle Ted,’ Sexually Abused Him<.” Most of the horrific abuse detailed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report involved adolescent boys and young men. This isn’t pedophilia.

What unites all of these scandals is homosexuality in our seminaries and the priesthood: the result of the Church ignoring its own clear directives. If it is serious about ending the sex scandals, the Church needs to admit it has a homosexual priest problem and stop ordaining men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies. The first “Uncle Ted” scandal was “Uncle Ted” becoming a priest.

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