Pope Benedict XVI Approves Ban on Gay Seminarians

In a story published in Catholic World News today, Pope Benedict XVI has signed off on a document banning homosexuals from studying for the priesthood. The document is seen as a response to the priest abuse crisis that has dominated the Church, particularly in the West, for the last five years. The new pope has also ordered an investigation into 229 US seminaries which will look for evidence of homosexuality and how celibacy is taught in each institution.
It seems to me that making homosexuals the scapegoats for the sexual abuse crisis doesn’t address the issue at hand. The Catholic bishops are the ones responsible for the crisis. They continued to protect, transfer, hide, and cover up for priest abusers. They were warned, most notably by Rev. Thomas Doyle back in 1985. Rather than listen to the prophetic warnings, the bishops chose to ignore the problem. It’s high time that these men were held accountable for their actions and tragic inaction.
Paul Baier of bishopaccountability.org notes the following:
“The entire text of this guide is important. A few important points that have not been emphasized in the media commentary:
Sexual Abuse Ignored – The sexual abuse crisis, which is the reason for the seminary visitations, is nowhere mentioned in the document.
Homosexuality Scrutinized – The reference to homosexuality (para. B.4.3), which has prompted so much comment, is not the only allusion in the document to this issue (see, for example, the mention of particular friendships in para. B.6.10 and the reference to the Vatican’s Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons in para. B.7.4).
Elimination of Dissent Emphasized – The issues of proper supervision and dissent (e.g., para. B.2.7) are more prominent than homosexuality in the guide. For example, the Visitors to each seminary are to check that moral instruction is based on certain Vatican texts, including the birth-control encyclical Humanae vitae (see para. B.7.4).
Secrecy Enforced – The seminary Visitors (many of whom appear to be American bishops, some with a bad track record during the crisis) are bound by pontifical secret (para. A.2.9).
Classified Report – No provision is made for reporting the results of the visitation to the laity, who have been so harmed by poorly trained priests, or even for reporting to priests, seminarians, and most bishops. Only the bishop or major superior who is responsible for a seminary will get that seminary’s report.
Seminary History Not Included – Aside from an invitation to recent seminary graduates (para. A.2.7), no provision is made for investigating the sexual abuse history of the seminary. But that history is the reason for the visitation.”