Tuesday, 8 April 2014



Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.
The Vatican document, given to The New York Times yesterday by a priest, surfaces as Catholics await a Vatican ruling on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.

Cardinal Edwin O'Brien of Rome told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more.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.
Card Edwin O'Brien

American seminaries are under Vatican review as a result of the sexual abuse scandal that swept the priesthood in 2002. 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 percent of the young people victimized by priests were boys.
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.

But some church officials in the United States and in Rome, including some bishops and many conservatives, attributed the abuse to gay priests and called for an overhaul of the seminaries. Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church.

The catechism of the Catholic Church says people with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies must live in chastity because "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."

The Rev. Donald B. Cozzens, a former seminary rector who set off a controversy five years ago when he published a book asserting that "the priesthood is or is becoming a gay profession," said in an interview yesterday that many in the church had come to accept his observation.
Fr Cozzens

But he said he was concerned that the seminary review would lead the church to ask celibate faculty members and seminarians to withdraw.

"That would be a major mistake from my perspective," said Father Cozzens, who teaches in the religious studies department at John Carroll University in Cleveland. "First, I think it's unfair if not unjust for committed gay seminarians and faculty who are leading chaste lives. And secondly, I don't know how you can really enforce that."

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a sociologist who resigned in May as editor of the Jesuit magazine America under pressure from the Vatican, said that with the shortage of priests, the church can hardly afford to dismiss gay seminarians.
Fr Reese

"You could have somebody who's been in the seminary for five or six years and is planning to be ordained and the rector knows they're a homosexual," said Father Reese, now a visiting scholar at Santa Clara University in California. "What are they going to do, throw them out?

"It's much healthier if a seminarian can talk about their sexuality with a spiritual director, but this kind of policy is going to force it all underground."

Cardinal O'Brien, who is supervising the seminary review, did not respond to requests for interviews made to his office in Washington. In an interview with The Associated Press, he said the Vatican document was being reviewed by the pope and could be released this year.

The seminary review, called an apostolic visitation, will send teams appointed by the Vatican to the 229 seminaries, which have more than 4,500 students. The last such review began about 25 years ago and took six years to complete.

At each seminary, the visitors are to conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.

A 12-page document with instructions for the review is now being distributed to seminarians and faculty members. It asks whether the doctrine on the priesthood presented by the seminary is "solidly based on the church's Magisterium," or teaching, and whether teachers and seminarians "accept this teaching." Among the other questions are these:

1. "Is there a clear process for removing from the seminary faculty members who dissent from the authoritative teaching of the church or whose conduct does not provide good example to future priests?"

2. "Is the seminary free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality?"

3. "Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution? (This question must be answered)."

4. "Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered)."

The questionnaire also asks whether faculty members "watch out for signs of particular friendships."
The Rev. Thomas Baima, provost of the largest seminary in the United States, St. Mary of the Lake, in Chicago, where the Vatican is sending nine interviewers, said such questions were no surprise.
Fr Baima

"The reason we're having an apostolic visitation now is precisely in the aftermath of the clerical sexual-abuse scandal," Father Baima said. "Issues about screening our candidates, about formation for celibacy, about how we teach moral theology are going to get more attention than how we teach church history."

But one gay priest, who said he would not give his name because he has been told by his order not to speak out, said the seminary review would demoralize gay priests.

"It says to gay priests, many of whom are hard-working, faithful men who live their promises of celibacy with integrity, that you should never have been ordained," he said.

Bishop Pat says:


Pope Francis is sending investigators into the 229 US seminaries to "weed out" the gays! How does that fit in with Francis saying about gays - "Who am I to judge"?  If he is not willing to judge why send investigators into the seminaries to JUDGE ???


The current situation in the RC priesthood is untenable. It is untenable because every priest is SUPPOSED to be celibate and MOST PRIESTS are not celibate.

So are the priests all wrong or is the compulsory celibacy law a BAD LAW.

The imposition of celibacy on ALL priests is a BAD LAW. It should be optional.

Then priests - whether straight or gay - would be free to love openly.

But that open loving would require the RC Church abandoning its medieval approach to human sexuality.

There should be a place in the priesthood for happily married heterosexual priests and for gay priests who either want to be celibate or be in committed relationship / partnership.

Of course there is no place in the priesthood for bullies - whatever their orientation

The ordinary People of God have no problems with married and partnered priests. God speaks through His people - VOX POPULI - VOX DEI - THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE IS THE VOICE OF GOD.

+ Pat Buckley


  1. The initial report is ten years old. Cant you find something more relevant to deamonise Pope Francis?

  2. Is this current, or is it a rehash of a few years ago ? I remember a review perhaps as far back as 2005 similar to this. Is this something new and fresh ?

    If so....well, how sad. And how misguided. Firstly, from basic first principles it misunderstands completely the origin and genesis of the abuse scandal that has engulfed the Church. That has nothing to do with gay clergy. It has to do with abusive clergy. Focussing on gay clergy as the reason for this scandal is just a debased understanding of the real origins and reasons. It's sloppy thinking. And a smokescreen, and a way of finding a scapegoat. The Church / Vatican, whoever, should be ashamed of themselves at such a thoroughly shabby attempt to point the finger for all that is wrong with the Church at a group of clergy who provide the backbone of manpower and ministry to a Church that struggles to find enough vocations to shore itself up.

    Then, there is the harsh reality that if you exclude gays, and harass those who are already in ministry, then you are going to reduce ordained ministers by at least 50 %, probably even more. Most, (yes most !) Catholic priests have a homosexual orientation, always have. Most will deny it or cover it up, but in my experience it is the way it is.

    Oh, and how the heck did Benedict and his beau Ganswein ever get ordained, then ?

    I'm so demoralised by the whole business. Who the f**k do they think they are to put the focus on one particular vulnerable but dedicated group of clergy ?

    My only consolation is that the Good Lord will bear this in mind when He comes to the Judgement Seat and judges these awful people of power and authority.

    Loving shepherds ? ... my arse !

  3. Dear Oh Dear when is the Church of Rome ever going to wake up and smell the coffee? If Francis and his confreres wish to exclude gay men from the priesthood he will have an empty Vatican, an empty Curia, an empty College of Cardinals, empty dioceses, etc, etc. The priesthood has become a gay profession; it always has been in the Roman Curia - all those brightly coloured cassocks and belly bands - and this gayiety has permeated even the ranks of the lowliest of diocesan clergy. I have no doubt that Francis is straight, but he is perilously close to "running with the hare and hunting with the hounds". It seems as if he says the first thing that comes into his head on any given subject, and then in practical terms contradicts this by allowing his minions to say and do what they like. Not for nothing is Francis known on the Roman Curia as "Cocco the Clown"! Finally a supreme irony in Cardinal Edwin O'Brien carrying out an investigation into gayiety in American seminaries. A close friend of that other gay self-hater Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien (no relation), Edwin as rector presided over the North American College in Rome at one of its gayest periods. I should know as I was a frequent visitor to cassock parties at the NAC along with a bevvy of other Irish College beauties! There was, and so I'm told, still is a great devotion by the Knackers (NAC) to St Anne - and that oft issued ejaculation from its bedrooms "Dear St Anne, Please, oh please, send me a man!" You could not make it up.

  4. Cocco the Clown ? You know, I think I might agree with you ! Francis does seem to speak without thinking. It's endearing in many ways, and he says some things that speak to me. But, I really do worry that he simply isn't up to the job in making sure that what he says and what he believes will actually be translated in to action. He's just not got the experience or the savvy to know his way around the bureaucracy and workings of the central government of the Church, the Curia, and how to bring about real and lasting change. And, he's up against it because more savvy people know how to pull the levers of power and they are precisely the people who do not agree with him. I think we are in for a lot of nice thoughts and sayings, lots of wonderful wishes for the future, but then a great disappointment because Francis simply is not going to be able to bring about substantial change because he hasn't the skills to bring it about. He will be outflanked. And, things will stay largely as they are, and the Curia will simply wait until he dies and then make sure that one of their own gets in and things can get back to normal. The Cardinals who elected Francis may have done so in a rush of enthusiasm to bring about some change in the Church, but they didn't choose the right man with the right skills. Sorry to be so pessimistic about it. I hope I will be proved wrong. I don't expect to be, though !

  5. Its almost Holy (Maundy) Thursday anniversary of the foundation of the priesthood. Last Holy Thursday I was asked to preach at Saviour Church in Collyhurst Manchester. At that time I was on a six week placement under the direction of Church of England. A few days before I had received my laicisation document via Diocese of Elphin. The Document barred me from any preaching/ministry related work from the moment of receipt. I can understand the church saying not in their jurisdiction but I can not accept the audacity to say never and nowhere. I can not go against a calling that reaches to the deepest core of my being. The RC Church presumes too much that their rules and regulations will now be taken with a pinch of salt. Jesus challenged the Jews 2000 years ago. The clock has now gone full circle and is time to challenge the Sanhedrin of Rome and Armagh. What still amazes me is why do ordinary people put up with such shite and why will nobody do anything except talk more shite and then let the whole thing go under the carpet. It is a never ending circle of shite. Sean