The Catholic Church, led by Pope Benedict XVI, is taking stronger steps to root out gays from the clergy. The Vatican will soon release an affirmation of its policy on gay clergy. According to the conservative Catholic World News, the document, which has been approved by the Pope, bans gay men from being ordained as Catholic Priests.

The instruction demands that Bishops not allow gay men to be become priests, even if they are celibate “because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers”.

While the policy is not new, it has not been strictly adhered to in some countries such the USA, Canada and the UK for a number of decades. Many gay men have been allowed into the priesthood during this time, as long as they were celibate. The instruction is expected to be officially released to the public in late October or November.

The Vatican is also aiming to root out gay men that are already studying to be in the clergy in the USA. Sparked by recent paedophile scandals that have shaken Rome, American Church officials are set to visit over 200 seminaries in the country to find evidence of homosexual candidates.

The review of the seminaries is known as an ‘apostolic visitation’ and is the first in America since the 1980s. The officials will interview every member of faculty, every seminarian, as well as recent graduates, asking if they know of homosexual activity or undercurrents in the seminary.

Gay Rights activists and organisation have branded the exercise a “witch-hunt” claiming that the church is erroneously equating gay men and homosexuality with paedophilia. Some studies suggest that almost half of men entering the church are gay.

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