The Vatican has
appointed investigators to review each of the 229 Roman
Catholic seminaries in the United States for ''evidence of
homosexuality," according to a document obtained by The
New York Times
. The investigators have also been instructed
to identify faculty members who dissent from church
document, given to The New York Times by a
priest, surfaced as Catholics awaited a Vatican ruling on
whether gay men should be barred from the priesthood.
In a possible indication of the ruling's contents, the
American archbishop who is supervising the seminary
review said last week that ''anyone who has engaged in
homosexual activity or has strong homosexual inclinations''
should not be admitted to a seminary.
seminaries are under Vatican review as a result of the
sexual abuse scandal that swept the priesthood in
2002, the Times reports. Church officials in the
United States and Rome agreed that they wanted to take a
closer look at how seminary candidates were screened
for admission and whether they were being prepared for
lives of chastity and celibacy.
The issue of gay
seminarians and priests has been in the spotlight
because a study commissioned by the church found last year
that about 80% of the young people victimized by
priests were boys. But experts in human sexuality have
cautioned that homosexuality and attraction to children
are different and that a disproportionate percentage of boys
may have been abused because priests were more likely
to have access to male targets—like altar boys
or junior seminarians—than to girls.