In the week since the Vatican released its new "Instruction" on the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to seminaries or to Holy Orders, there has been an impressive amount of commentary on what exactly it means. While the release of a Vatican document is always accompanied by commentators who argue mightily that it does not mean what it in fact plainly says, this time there is some genuine uncertainty about how best to interpret the Instruction ... and from quarters which are by no means lacking in fidelity to Church teaching.
The key passage says that "those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture' should not be admitted to seminaries or ordained priests."
The first and third categories seem clear enough. A man who is sexually active with others ... men or women ... clearly cannot be admitted to the seminary unless and until he has learned to live chastely. As for the "gay culture," it seems obvious that a potential priest cannot support initiatives which encourage homosexual acts, or even the affirmation of the homosexual orientation as something good in itself.
What does "deep-seated" mean?
That leaves the second category: "those who present deep-seated homosexual tendencies."
The first thing to be observed is that the language chosen ... after some five years or more of consideration ... does not define a "deep-seated" homosexual tendency. It also seems reasonable to conclude that a homosexual tendency which is not "deep-seated" does not constitute a barrier to Holy Orders.
Read the entire article on the National Review website (new window will open).