Men with Homosexual Tendencies Not Fit for Priesthood, Says Vatican

Response to Question from a Bishop

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2002 ( A homosexual person, or one with homosexual tendencies, "is not fit" to receive priestly ordination, says the Vatican.

This position is stated in a letter written by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, published in the November-December issue of the dicastery's bulletin "Notitiae." The letter was in response to a bishop's query.

The letter, written in Italian, explains that an unidentified bishop appealed to the Congregation for Clergy, to inquire if it is licit to confer priestly ordination on men with manifest homosexual tendencies.

The Congregation for Clergy presented the request in turn to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, whose prefect at the time of the response (May 16) was Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez.

As explained in the letter, the Congregation for Divine Worship, before replying, consulted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The response is focused in a paragraph of the letter that reads as follows: "Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky. A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders."

The Congregation for Divine Worship explains that in its response, it is "conscious of the experience resulting from many instructed causes for the purpose of obtaining dispensation from the obligations that derive from Holy Ordination."