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leader defends gay priests

Catholic Church
leader defends gay priests

Skylstad

Bishop William Skylstad (pictured), president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, noting concerns about an upcoming Vatican document that will address whether gays should be ordained, said "witch hunts and gay bashing have no place in the church."

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, noting concerns about an upcoming Vatican document that will address whether gays should be ordained, said "witch hunts and gay bashing have no place in the church." "There are many wonderful and excellent priests in the church who have a gay orientation, are chaste and celibate, and are very effective ministers of the Gospel," Spokane, Wash., bishop William Skylstad wrote in his diocesan newspaper last week. Conflicting reports have surrounded the contents of the document, which has been in the works for several years. Some church officials had previously signaled that the Vatican would instruct seminaries to prohibit gays from enrolling. But earlier this month a Vatican official said the document would stop short of a sweeping ban and would instead permit candidates who have lived chastely for at least three years. Skylstad wrote that if the latest reports are accurate, the document will be "nuanced and balanced." Vatican teaching holds that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered." The church, however, says gays should be treated with compassion and dignity. Estimates of the number of gays in the American priesthood vary from around 25% to 50%, according to a review of research on the issue by the Reverend Donald Cozzens, author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood.

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