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Archbishop says gays should be banned from seminaries
Seattle Times
By Rachel Zoll
The Associated Press
September 13, 2005

The American prelate overseeing a sweeping Vatican evaluation of every seminary in the United States said yesterday that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate and that the church must "stay on the safe side" by restricting their enrollment.

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien made the comments as Roman Catholics await word of an eagerly anticipated Vatican document on whether gays should be barred from the priesthood. O'Brien and several other U.S. bishops have said they expect that document to be released soon.

O'Brien, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services in Washington, said that "there are some priests ... with same-sex attractions and they've done very well" remaining celibate.

"But generally speaking, in my experience, the pressures are strong in an all-male atmosphere," he said. "And if there have been past failings, the church really must stay on the safe side. ... The same-sex attractions have gotten us into some legal problems."

O'Brien had told the National Catholic Register, an independent newsweekly, that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary," even if they had been celibate for a decade or more. O'Brien told The Associated Press that the church is not "hounding" gays out of the priesthood but wants to enroll seminarians who can maintain their vows of celibacy. The church considers gay relationships "intrinsically disordered."

The Vatican ordered the seminary review three years ago in response to the clergy sex-abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal, which has led to more than 11,000 abuse claims in the past five decades.

The evaluation is set to begin later this month, and much of the focus is expected to be on what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. It also is reportedly drawing up guidelines for accepting candidates for the priesthood that could address the question of homosexual seminarians.

The debate over gays in the priesthood reached a crisis point last year when a study that the U.S. bishops commissioned from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that most of the alleged abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys.

Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA, which represents gay and lesbian Catholics, accused bishops of "scapegoating" gays to divert attention from the failure of church leaders to protect children.

The exact number of gay seminarians is not known. Estimates vary dramatically from one-quarter to more than half of all American priest candidates. However, several Catholic leaders say the gay presence is so large that heterosexual seminarians feel alienated and that many have dropped out over the years. Yet, even these leaders concede there is no easy way to enforce a ban on gay priest candidates, since many do not discover they are homosexual until after they enroll and others may hide their sexual orientation from seminary administrators.

As part of the seminary evaluation, 117 bishops and seminary staff will visit 229 campuses over the next year and then present their findings to the Vatican.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

I have a better idea. How about banning Archbishops how hid child molesters from the police.

The Catholic Church is beginning a search of all seminaries in the US for gay students. The Vatican is expected to announce a ban on all gay priests soon. Having friends who are gay and priests I find this appalling and disingenuous. Good Catholics should walk away from this Pope by stopping their donations immediately. Innocent seminarians shouldn't be blamed for the actions of others.

Any priest who's this ignorant of human sexuality shouldn't be making grand pronouncements about things they know nothing about. Clearly this moron thinks gay priests are the problem. But any fool knows sexual predators who rape children don't care which sex they are.