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Vatican seeks
"evidence of homosexuality'' in American seminaries

Vatican seeks
"evidence of homosexuality'' in American seminaries

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 teaching.

The Vatican 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.

American 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.

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