The survey is not brand-new, its results came out in the spring of 2017 in Portuguese in the “Revista Eclesiástica Brasileira.” But “Il Regno – Documenti” has recently published a complete translation of it in Italian, thus making it known to a much wider public. On a question that is as relevant as they come.
The question is that of homosexuality in the seminaries.
For several months, among the Church’s leadership, homosexuality has been taboo. It was even forbidden to talk about it at the summit on sexual abuse held at the Vatican from February 21 to 24. And yet its widespread presence among the clergy and in the seminaries has been a well-known reality for some time, to the point that in 2005 the congregation for Catholic education issued an instruction precisely on how to address it.
This instruction reiterated not only that homosexual acts are “grave sins,” but also that “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” are “objectively disordered.” Because of which those who perform such acts, manifest such tendencies, or in any case uphold “gay culture” should not in any way be admitted to sacred orders.
These were the pastoral directives back then. But in reality to what extent were they applied? The survey cited above was deliberately set up to verify what is happening today in two seminaries in Brazil, taken as a sample.
The authors of the survey, Elismar Alves dos Santos and Pedrinho Arcides Guareschi, both religious of the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and both specialists in social psychology and with prestigious academic qualifications, conducted in-depth interviews with 50 theology students of these seminaries, coming away from them with results that are decidedly alarming.
First of all, the interviewees say, homosexuality in their seminaries “is a common thing, a reality ever more present.” So normal “that it even reaches the point of being trivialized.” It is the widespread conviction among them “that in reality 90 percent of seminarians today are homosexual.”
Some homosexuals – they say – “seek the seminary as a means of escape so as not to take on before their families and society the responsibilities connected to their behavior.” Others “discover that they are homosexual when they are already in the seminary,” finding a favorable environment there. And almost all of them, some say 80 percent “go in search of sexual partners.”
Homosexuality, in fact – they state – “is a reality present in the seminaries not only in the order of being, but also in the order of practice.” Many practice it “as if it were something normal.” The authors of the survey write: “In the vision of the research participants, in the present context of the seminaries a good part of the seminarians are in favor of homosexuality. And, even more, they maintain that if there is love in a homosexual relationship, there is nothing wrong. They say: ‘’If there is love, what harm is there?’”
The interviewees ask rather that “there should be a dialogue between homosexuals and the Church.” But indeed, a dialogue to bring it about that “homosexuality in the seminaries may be accompanied and guided well.”
In other words, the interviewees complain that the superiors do not do anything in regard to homosexuality, but they expect to be accepted and admitted to sacred orders as such, with “a humanizing welcome of the person as he is.”
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