The Vatican is currently circulating a draft of a proposal to prevent homosexuals from becoming priests, according to the Washington Post. The document reportedly takes the position that as the Church considers homosexuality as “objectively disordered,” gay men should not be allowed to become priests, according to the Catholic News Service. This would be a norm or directive to be used throughout the Church in all countries, CNS reports, and it would hold even if the potential priest was willing, like heterosexual priest, to be celibate as part of his role in the Church, according to the Post.
Critics of this proposed policy contend that the issue at stake is not the sexual orientation of priests involved in the current sexual abuse scandal, but pedophilia, and that homosexuals are no more likely to commit abuse than heterosexuals. In fact, some experts estimate that as many as half of all abuse victims by priests are female, and nearly half of the membership of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests are women, and SNAP’s founder, Barbara Blaine, is also a victim of priest sexual abuse. In addition, critics argue that the move to focus on the sexual orientation of priests is simply an attempt to deflect attention away from the bishops who knowingly transferred abusive priests from parish to parish and covered up allegations of abuse, according to the Post.
In the meantime, Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, arrives in Rome tomorrow to receive the Vatican’s response to the sex abuse policy adopted by the US bishops in June, the Boston Globe reports. The bishops ultimately decided against a zero tolerance policy that would defrock priests found guilty of sexual abuse, and instead adopted a policy that simply removes priests from their ministries. However, it also requires bishops to report allegations of abuse of minors to local authorities, a policy that goes against the Vatican’s traditionally internal method of dealing with these charges, according to the Globe.