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Canadian seminary to screen applicants for HIV

Canadian seminary to screen applicants for HIV

In an effort to identify applicants who may be gay or bisexual, the Grand Seminaire de Montreal, a Catholic seminary, announced that this fall it will begin screening applicants for HIV infection, The [Montreal] Gazette reports. The Reverend Marcel Demers said a positive test should "sound an alarm bell" that the applicant may be gay. Applicants who test positive will be asked how they were infected. Demers said that those who have been infected through gay sex will have a "slim" chance of being admitted, although their applications will not be automatically refused. "It's not that Jesus wanted homophobia," Demers told the Gazette. "But we also realize that this profile doesn't lend itself as well to what we require of a priest." He added that gay men have a harder time following a priest's vow of celibacy than heterosexual men. Seminaries in Vancouver and Edmonton also require HIV tests for applicants, and U.S. seminaries have required HIV testing for more than 10 years, according to the Gazette. Bill Ryan, a spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that he is "virtually certain" that all U.S. dioceses require an HIV test. Some gay and civil rights activists in Montreal say the seminary's policy could be in violation of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but Ginette L'Heureux, a member of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, said the church may be exempt from the law.

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