By Terry Vanderheyden

ROME, February 28, 2006 ( – Cardinal-designate William J. Levada said it is difficult for homosexual priests, especially those who make their disorder public, to be seen as representatives of Christ by Catholic faithful.

Public declaration in particular puts priests “at odds with the spousal character of love as revealed by God and imaged in humanity,” said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, during a sermon, as reported by the Catholic News Service.

“I think we must ask, ‘Does [a priest who makes his homosexuality public] recognize how this act places an obstacle to his ability to represent Christ the bridegroom to his bride, the people of God? Does he not see how his declaration places him at odds with the spousal character of love as revealed by God and imaged in humanity?” said the cardinal-designate.

“Sadly, this provides a good example of the wisdom of the new Vatican instruction,” he said, referring to the Vatican order that bans those with homosexual inclination from being ordained as priests.

Preaching to approximately 170 seminarians at a Mass where the new rector of Rome’s Pontifical North American College was installed, Levada added that “It is important for our people to hear us priests preach and teach about the fundamental character of God’s love imprinted upon humanity in the original act of creation: ‘God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.’”