Catholics Speak Out, a US Catholic group has condemned the Roman Catholic Curia’s decision to ban gay men from admission to seminaries unless their orientation is “fleeting”.

This comes in the light of a new Vatican document that is due to be officially released next week. It represents the Catholic Church’s harshest official attitude in recent times towards gay men who aspire to be in the clergy.

The document says that practicing homosexuals, as well as those with “deep-seated” gay tendencies and even seminarians who support gay culture, should be barred from serving the Vatican.

Critics say the new policy, which will only admit those who have shown no homosexual tendencies for at least three years into the church, makes gays easy scapegoats in the Church’s paedophile scandals.

“It is an insult to countless good priests and is rooted in a fundamentalist, literal reading of the Scriptures,” says Rea Howarth, representative of Catholics Speak Out.

In a strongly worded statement the group wrote:

“It is obvious the Curia officials have either no comprehension of the subject matter or are possessed of a singular and sinister hypocrisy, all the more frightening because so many priests, bishops and cardinals are themselves gay men. The instruction is wrong. The core of the church’s objection to homosexuality itself is based on Old Testament proscriptions and “constant tradition” – as if human beings have not learned anything in the past 2,000 years.

Furthermore, it makes a mockery of vows of celibacy and chastity. What is even more regrettable about this ill-constructed directive is that good, psychosexually mature men will not seek ordination, despite experiencing a deep call to ministry in a church crying for priests. It is an invitation for religious gay men to hide their innermost beings deep in the closet. And it is an invitation to self-respecting gay priests to quit their ministry in a church that arbitrarily condemns them for being who they are.

Moreover, this religious justification for discrimination excites in some people and even children, an abhorrence of gay men and women. Such fear and revulsion is played out in society in uncounted acts of overt discrimination and horrific violence.

The men who soon will issue this “instruction” and continue “tradition” should resign rather than be complicit in such a deeply unchristian act.

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