Vatican Officially Releases Document on Homosexuality and the Priesthood

By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, November 29, 2005 ( - The Vatican has officially released the document “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.” The released document is the same as the version which was leaked to reporters in recent weeks.

The document is dated November 4 and bears the signatures of Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and of Archbishop Michael J. Miller C.S.B., respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. On August 31, 2005, Benedict XVI approved the Instruction and ordered its publication. It was published in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

Cardinal Grocholewski summarized the document on Vatican Radio today saying, “We instructed that there are three categories of people who may not be admitted to seminaries and may not receive the sacrament of holy orders, they are: ‘those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’’”

With regard to homosexual tendencies which are not deep-seated but transitory, the Cardinal explained that these would not bar ordination to the priesthood but would have to be overcome at least three years prior to ordination to the diaconate, a precursor to priestly ordination. Examples of such transitory homosexual acts or inclinations could stem from “uncompleted adolescence, some kind of curiosity; or perhaps accidental circumstances, a drunken state” or prolonged imprisonment.

Although no official web version of the document has been released, the Vatican Information Service has published official extracts. See these at


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