Pope: ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in clergy ‘wor­ries me’

Catholic leader says some con­sider it a ‘fash­ion­able’ life­style

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD -

VAT­I­CAN CITY — Pope Fran­cis has been quoted in a soon-to-be pub­lished book as say­ing that hav­ing gays in the clergy “is some­thing that wor­ries me” and re­mark­ing that some so­ci­eties are con­sid­er­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity a “fash­ion­able” life­style.

Ital­ian daily Cor­riere della Sera’s web­site Sat­ur­day ran ex­cerpts of the book in the form of an in­ter­view that Fran­cis gave about re­li­gious vo­ca­tions. Fran­cis was quoted as de­scrib­ing ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity within the walls of sem­i­nar­ies, con­vents and other re­li­gious places where clergy live as “a very se­ri­ous ques­tion.”

“In our so­ci­eties, it even seems ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is fash­ion­able. And this men­tal­ity, in some way, also in­flu­ences the life of the church,” Fran­cis was quoted as telling his in­ter­viewer, a Span­ish­born mis­sion­ary pri­est, Fer­nando Prado.

The book, based on four hours of con­ver­sa­tions the two had in Au­gust at the Vat­i­can, will be pub­lished in 10 lan­guages next week. Its Span­ish ti­tle is “La Fuerza de la vo­ca­cion” (“The Strength of Vo­ca­tion”).

Fran­cis re­it­er­ated past Vat­i­can pro­nounce­ments about the at­ten­tion that must be given to se­lect­ing men for ad­mis­sion to sem­i­nar­ies, say­ing “we must very much take care of hu­man and sen­ti­men­tal ma­tu­rity” when train­ing fu­ture priests.

Sep­a­rately, the Ital­ian news agency ANSA quoted Fran­cis in the book as com­ment­ing on a cler­gy­man who had told him that hav­ing gays in Catholic re­li­gious hous­ing “isn’t so grave” be­cause it’s “only an ex­pres­sion of af­fec­tion.”

That rea­son­ing “is in er­ror,” Fran­cis said. “In con­se­crated life and pri­estly life, there is no place for this kind of af­fec­tion.”

He said can­di­dates with “neu­roses or strong un­bal­ances” should not be ac­cepted “to the pri­est­hood nor to (other forms of ) con­se­crated life.”

Still, Fran­cis, as he has in the past, stressed that gay Catholics con­trib­ute to the life of the church. He said the church must al­ways re­mem­ber that “they are per­sons who will live in the ser­vice of the church, of the Chris­tian com­mu­nity, of the peo­ple of God. Let’s never for­get this per­spec­tive.”

Catholic teach­ing con­sid­ers ho­mo­sex­ual ac­tiv­ity sin­ful, and that ev­ery­one, ex­cept mar­ried het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples, should ab­stain from sex.

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