Monday, June 15, 2015

The 'third rail' of the priestly abuse scandal: the role of homosexuality

The US bishops once recognized the role of homosexuality in the sex-abuse crisis. In 2002, when St. John Paul II summoned the leadership of the US bishops’ conference to Rome to discuss the emerging scandal with Vatican officials, the final statement that emerged from that meeting made a subtle allusion to the issue. The statement called for examination of the American seminaries, “with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Church’s teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria for suitability of candidates for the priesthood.” At the time, that statement was generally understood as a reference to complaints about homosexual influence in seminaries.

Over the years, however, concern about homosexuality in the priesthood has dropped off the American bishops’ agenda. A Vatican directive issued in 2005, that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries, is now routinely ignored. A priest who is guilty of homosexual activity may continue in active ministry, as long as his misconduct involves only adult partners.  (more...)

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