Does this make any sense to anyone at all?
What a messed up hierarchy in this Catholic Church. (Or is it anarchy????)

Article by Vatican official opposes gays in priesthood


Rachel Zoll
Associated Press

New York

- A staff member of an influential Vatican office has published an article arguing that gays should not be ordained as priests in the wake of the clerical sex abuse scandal.

If a man is gay, "then he should not be admitted to holy orders, and his presence in the seminary would not only give him false hope but it may, in fact, hinder" the therapy he needs, Monsignor Andrew Baker of the Congregation of Bishops wrote.

Reached by phone in Rome, Baker would not immediately say whether his superiors reviewed or approved the article before it was printed in the Jesuit magazine America that is due out Monday.

However, church observers say Baker's arguments were evidence of the Holy See's views on homosexuality at a critical time for the Roman Catholic Church.

"The Congregation for Bishops is one of the most important offices in the Vatican because it deals with bishops' conferences and it also recommends names to the pope to appoint bishops around the world," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of the New York-based magazine.

"I think the article helps us understand the thinking of at least some people in the Vatican on the question of ordaining gay men."

Baker frames the article by noting "the church and society have focused partly on the role of homosexuality" in the clerical sex abuse scandal. He then asks whether a man with "predominantly homosexual tendencies" should be allowed to join the clergy.

Most of the victims of molestation by priests have been adolescent boys. Experts on sex offenders say there is no credible evidence that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to abuse children, but several church leaders have concluded that gay clergy are to blame for the scandal.

The church teaches that homosexuality is a disorder - not a sin - but that engaging in gay sex is sinful.

Estimates of the number of homosexuals in seminaries vary from 10 percent to 50 percent. Within several months, a Vatican team will start evaluating all U.S. seminaries, and the issue of gays studying for the priesthood is expected to be a top issue.

Early in the scandal, Pope John Paul II's spokesman publicly questioned whether gays should be ordained. John Paul told visiting Brazilian bishops on Sept. 5 that men with "obvious signs of deviations" must be barred from becoming priests, alluding to the crisis in the church.

Baker is a priest of the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., and is one of about 20 members of the Congregation of Bishops staff.

He argued that even celibate gays may not be good candidates for the priesthood. He worried that homosexuals would have difficulty remaining celibate in the all-male seminary environment and would struggle with or deny church teachings on homosexuality.

2002 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved.

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