Publication of the Instruction forbidding the ordination of homosexuals

Source: FSSPX News


On November 29, 2005, the Holy See officially published an instruction on “the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders”.  This document was signed by the Head of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski. To see the official text, go to our Documents section.

Composed of three parts entitled “Affective Maturity and Spiritual Fatherhood”, “Homosexuality and the Ordained Ministry” and “Discernment by the Church Concerning the Suitability of Candidates”, the Instruction recalls the requirement of the Church not to ordain priests with homosexual tendencies.

It declares: “The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’”. “Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.” “One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies”, adds the document.

“Different, however, the document states by way of nuance, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem - for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate”.

In its introduction, the Congregation for Catholic Education specifies again “that [the document] contains norms concerning a specific question, made more urgent by the current situation”. Several local churches have been plagued in the last few years by sexual scandals, in particular the U.S., Brazil and Europe. However the document specifies that it does not have a retroactive authority.

This instruction, requested by John-Paul II in 1994, is the first to be promulgated under the pontificate of Benedict XVI. The pope followed its preparation as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It took several years and numerous re-readings on the part of experts in psychology and moral theology, not to mention those of the different dicasteries concerned with the question, in order to reach the point of promulgation.