Pope Francis Told Bishops to Reject Gay Priests

Photo Credit: india.com

The  Pope took an unusually harsh stance on gay people when he advised Italian bishops during a meeting to keep an eye on the admission to seminaries and reject potential priests if there is any doubt they might be gay. This unexpected statement came just a day after Pope Francis told Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of sexual abuse, that God made him gay and still loved him, and now it is unclear what is the Pope's real opinion on gay people. Vatican's policy is to allow gay men to enter seminary provided that they're not in a same-sex relationship and don't take pride in the sexual orientation, but now  the Pope advised bishops to act differently.

During Pope Francis's era some of his actions has been seen as a signal that the church is more open and welcoming of LGBTQ people, compared to those of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI. In a document released in 2005, under Francis's predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican stated that the Church could admit into the priesthood those who had clearly overcome homosexual tendencies for at least three years, but those who supported gay culture and those with "deep-seated" gay tendencies should be rejected. Since Francis's election in 2013 he shifted the language the Church has used about homosexuality. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” the Pope said on his first overseas trip in 2013. In 2016, he said he had ministered to people with unfulfilled homosexual tendencies as well as homosexuals who were not able to remain chaste, as the Church asks them to. “When a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: ‘Go away because you are homosexual’,” he said, according to Reuters.

As a result, conservatives have grown alarmed at the way Pope Francis is addressing gay people, and it is possible that Francis is trying to appease them with his advice to Italian bishops. As Patheos reports, Pope Francis went even further by saying that priests who might be gay — even if they are celibate — aren’t worth the price of admission. In these cases, “if you have even the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter,” Francis said, because these acts or deep-seated tendencies can lead to scandals and can compromise the life of the seminary, as well as the man himself and his future priesthood.

It sounds like Pope Francis is stating that gay people are responsible for scandals in The Church and he is advising bishops to make judgment whether a potential priest is gay or not. None of this makes sense. The Church's child abuse and sex scandals have nothing to do with gay people. How can a bishop decide if someone is gay and reject him on that basis? The Church is already discriminating LGBT people, after Pope Francis's election it looked like some positive changes were made, but now the milk has been spilled.

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