Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has sent a letter to the bishops of the world with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming the norms established by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the 2005 document, “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders,” as universal and without exceptions.
In the brief “Rescriptum ex audientia” –a written response to various queries—Cardinal Bertone said the norms establishing the selection of candidates to the priesthood are valid “for all houses of formation for the priesthood, including those under the Dicasteries for Eastern Churches, for the Evangelization of Peoples, and for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.”
The letter, which Cardinal Bertone said was issued in response “to numerous requests for clarification,” implies that the prohibition against accepting homosexual candidates in seminaries applies not only to diocesan seminaries but also to those of religious orders and congregations, as well as to those that are located in mission territories.
The 2005 Instruction indicated the Congregation for Catholic Education, “in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'."
"Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies," the 2005 document also said.