.- In an interview with the Washington Times regarding the Vatican’s new document which will reportedly bar homosexual men from seminaries, Fr. Joseph Fessio, head of Ignatius Press and provost at Ave Maria University, said that a deep seeded sexual ethics problem lies at the root of the Church’s decision, and of the sex abuse scandal which has come to light in recent years.
"Both the present Holy Father and many Catholic scholars and commentators”, he told the Times, “have realized the sexual-abuse crisis was a sign of something much deeper and more widespread.”
Fr. Fessio pointed to a directive issued by Pope John XXIII in 1961 which said that ordination "should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers."
That directive, he said, has been largely ignored or watered down in subsequent decades.
"There emerged a justification,” he noted, “a whole philosophy saying same-sex attraction is one of God's gifts."
"That's what was so insidious. Now in our present culture -- which is obsessed with sex -- the church must make sure its own ministers are not contaminated by this secularized worldview," he said.
A 2004 fact finding report showed that some 81 percent of the priestly abuse cases involved boys or young men.
Opponents and several gay-rights activist organizations have expressed outrage at the document which is expected to be released in the near future by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.
The document reportedly contains no change in Catholic teaching which has consistently held that homosexual men--even celibates--should not be ordained, and that homosexual tendencies point to a deeper disorder.
Likewise, the document is said to encourage already-ordained homosexual priests to make a renewed commitment to living a chaste life.