It would be best if homosexual men would not apply for the Catholic priesthood and if they were not accepted into a seminary, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien said Monday.
A delegation of Vatican officials is currently in the United States conducting an evaluation of all seminaries across the country. The Vatican ordered the seminary review three years ago in response to the clergy sex-abuse scandal, which has led to more than 11,000 abuse claims. Last year a study found that most of the alleged abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys.
Archbishop O’Brien was named to oversee the Vatican visit.
According to an Associated Press report, the archbishop said homosexual candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate
"There are some priests, I don't think there are many, some ordained people with same-sex attractions and they've done very well [remaining celibate]," the archbishop was quoted as saying.
"But generally speaking, in my experience, the pressures are strong in an all-male atmosphere," said the archbishop for the Military Services in Washington, D.C. "And if there have been past failings, the Church really must stay on the safe side. ... The same-sex attractions have gotten us into some legal problems."
He reportedly told the National Catholic Register that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary," even if they had been celibate for a decade or more.
The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education is reportedly drawing up guidelines about accepting candidates to the priesthood, and the document is expected include whether gay men should be admitted.