Pope Francis: Homosexuals Should Leave Priesthood
"It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life."
The Catholic Church is still reeling from its latest sex-abuse scandal. Pope Francis has appeared somewhat slow to take on the issue, and he’s even seemed to deflect blame. It’s not popular to point it out, but much of the abuse was actually pederasty at the hands of homosexual clergy — a charge against which the Vatican had pushed back.
But in newly released comments Francis made in August, it seems the pope does realize what the real problem is.
In a book-length interview called The Strength of Vocation, the pope told Fernando Prado, a Spanish priest, “The question of homosexuality is a very serious one” and “something that worries me.” He explained, “In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable,” but, he warned, “this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church.” He continued, “In consecrated life and priestly life, there is no room for this kind of affection. … For this reason, the Church urges that persons with this rooted tendency not be accepted into [priestly] ministry or consecrated life.” In fact, when it comes to those already in the priesthood, Francis said, “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life.”
Those are strong words.
That last statement was framed by some news reports as the pope urging celibacy for homosexuals already in ministry. But celibacy is already the policy, making this reading rather redundant. In any case, Francis’s words will give comfort to conservatives who want to see the church address gross sin in its many manifestations, while they will bring great consternation to liberal Catholics who count Francis among their ranks. The bottom line is we hope it leads to action to clean up a horrific pattern that has claimed far too many victims. The Christian response to gender attraction disorientation and identity dysphoria in all its manifestations is critical in both the outside culture and the inside of the institution itself.