A group of gay
Italian clergy said Wednesday that their homosexuality has
not stopped them from being good priests, a direct response
to a recent Vatican policy statement barring priestly
candidates with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies.
The message, an open letter in which the priests
said they felt like the church's "unloved and unwanted
children," was posted on the Web site of the Italian
Catholic news agency Adista. The agency last month
leaked the Vatican instruction on gay priests a week before
its scheduled release by the Holy See.
Adista said 39 priests, 26 diocesans, and 13
more members of various religious orders had signed
the letter. However, the text reproduced on the Web
site did not include the signatures or list their names. "We
don't have more problems living chastely than heterosexuals
do, because homosexuality is not a synonym of
incontinence, nor of uncontrollable urges," the letter
states. "We are not sick with sex, and our homosexual
tendency has not damaged our psychic health."
The official "Instruction" from the Congregation
for Catholic Education, released late last month, said
men "who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated
homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay
culture" cannot be admitted to seminaries. The only
exception would be for those with a "transitory problem"
that had been overcome for at least three years.
The open letter noted that "we are Catholic
priests...with homosexual tendencies, and that fact
has not stopped us from being good priests."
"We consider our homosexuality to be wealth,
because it helps us to share the marginalization and
suffering of many people," the letter adds.
The Vatican document had been in the works for
years, but its existence became known in 2002 at the
height of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the United
States. A study commissioned by U.S. bishops found that most
abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys. (AP)
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