Seminary Accommodates Gays
Seminary handbook panders to gay seminarians instead of dismissing them as directed
[The “Francis effect” on a seminary]
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • December 17, 2015
Cleveland (ChurchMilitant.com) – A Catholic seminary is accommodating homosexual seminarians instead of dismissing them as directed by the Holy See.
Borromeo Seminary in the diocese of Cleveland, Ohio has issued a handbook for its seminarians. In the section on celibacy it states: “Each person must come to terms with his own sexual drives and sexual orientation.”
Elaborating on “heterosexual or homosexual orientation” of seminarians, the handbook continues, “Both persons are capable of making and keeping a commitment to celibacy. But in either case the expectations are the same: the ability to refrain from genital sexual experiences.”
Further on it says “fraternal charity” would mean “not engaging in unwarranted interference into another’s personal life, and not nurturing homophobia within the community.”
Nowhere does the handbook speak directly of the Church’s mandate to dismiss seminarians who have homosexual tendencies.
The seminary’s website does say “The Program of Priestly Formation is the guiding document issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).”
In section 56 of the USCCB’s document we read: “With regard to the admission of candidates with same-sex experiences and/or inclinations, the guidelines provided by the Holy See must be followed.”
The Holy See, in two documents, directs seminaries to dismiss those seminarians who have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
The Congregation for Catholic Education in 2008 published a document, signed by Pope Benedict XVI, called “Guidelines for the use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood.” This document, speaking of psychological deficiencies of seminarians, states, “Such immaturity would include … uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted.”
In another area, the document lists problems that “block the vocational journey,” which include “a sexuality identity that is confused or not yet well defined.”
It further says it’s necessary to “evaluate his sexual orientation, according to the indications published by this Congregation.”
The document adds a footnote referencing a 2005 document by the same congregation titled “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.”
In this document, the Congregation addressed the “urgent” question of “whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” Their answer is no.
The dicastery declared that bishops or major superiors “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.'”
The Congregation explicitely declares: “If a candidate practices homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination.”
It further instructs it would be “gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality” so that he could be ordained.
The same dicastery in its 2008 document cited above also clarifies: “If it should be ascertained that the candidate needs therapy, this therapy should be carried out before he is admitted to the seminary or house of formation.”
This is in stark contrast to the Cleveland seminary handbook:
An individual may require professional counseling to work through his feelings, come to a sense of peace with his own sexuality, and proceed to live a healthy celibate lifestyle. … If professional counseling is required, it will be made available. Financial assistance will be provided when needed.
The Holy See makes clear that the seminary is not the place to work out one’s own deep-seated emotional problems, and deep-seated homosexual tendencies render a man unfit for the priesthood.
Rome emphatically warns: “One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
One concerned mother, after reading the seminary’s handbook, contacted ChurchMilitant.com and asked, “How can I support my son entering here? I simply cannot.”