By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, November 14, 2005 ( – As the publication of the new Vatican documentÂon homosexuality and the Catholic priesthood is about to be published at the end of the month, several Catholic leaders including an AmericanÂbishop have publicly stated their views against the long-standing Vatican position against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations to the priesthood. Rochester, NY, Bishop Matthew H. Clark, was the latest to come out in favour of homosexual priests inÂa column in his diocesan paper Saturday.

Homosexual priests in Canada and the United States haveÂcondemned the Church’s position in mostly anonymous statements to the media. However some US and Canadian priests have also identified themselvesÂwhile publicizing their rejectionÂof the Catholic position on the matter. In recent weeks the former head of one of the largest religious orders in the Catholic Church did so, and his statements are closely followed by those of Bishop Clark.Â

Rev. Timothy Radcliffe, the international leader of the Dominican Order from 1992 to 2001, last week slammed any suggestion of barring homosexuals from the priesthood, and suggested barring “homophobes” instead.“Any deep-rooted prejudice against others, such as homophobia or misogyny, would be grounds for rejecting a candidate for the priesthood, but not their sexual orientation,” he said. (see coverage: )

Clark, in his column, relates the story of priests and religious in his diocese who have “come out” to him as being homosexuals. Bishop ClarkAbout receiving the revelations, the bishop writes “I know that I was deeply gratified that they entrusted me with that information . . . Their simplicity and honesty with me only deepened my regard for them . . . and (I) felt enriched by their trust and confidence.”

Clark says media reports that the upcoming Vatican document will restate the church’s position that those with homosexual orientations are unfit for the priesthoodÂare “a source of great pain for them and for all of us who know and love them.”

However, as re-affirmed in 1961, the Catholic Church’s official disciplines have strictly forbidden the ordination of homosexuals, whether ‘active and open’ or otherwise. (see related coverage: )Â The fact that the Vatican’s instruction was largely ignoredÂis evidenced by the current proliferation of homosexual men in the priesthood and subsequent need for another document reiterating the direction.

Nevertheless, Clark says, “The fundamental concern of formation for a life of celibate chastity is for sexual maturity, not sexual orientation.” He goesÂso far as to tell homosexual men, using theÂhomosexual activist “gay” term, “to gay young men who are considering a vocation to priesthood. We try to treat all inquiries fairly. You will be no exception.” (see Clark’s full column: )

On Sunday the Associated Press reported that Rev. Fred Daley, a Roman Catholic priest, “had grown increasingly disturbed by Vatican pronouncements over the years that homosexuals were unfit for the clergy” and “came out” to his bishop, Syracuse Bishop James M. Moynihan.“As I have, through the years, become more comfortable with who I am, it seemed the institutional church and its decrees and its pastoral letters from the Vatican seemed more harsh and almost mean-spirited,” said Daley.

In Canada, Fr. Karl Clemens who retired early from the Kingston Diocese “came out” on television last month, similarly describing his frustration with the church’s stand on homosexuality. (see the coverage: )

See related coverage:
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