Vatican: Pope Francis speaks again about the admission of homosexuals to seminaries

Pope Francis Pope Francis meets with priests of the Diocese of Rome at the Salesian Pontifical University on June 11, 2024. | Credit: Vatican Media

During a meeting Tuesday with some 160 priests at the Salesian Pontifical University, Pope Francis again discussed the issue of the admission of homosexuals to seminaries. 

The Vatican Press Office reported that during the closed-door meeting, the pope returned to the topic of the admission of men “with homosexual tendencies to seminaries, reiterating the need to welcome them and accompany them in the Church and the prudential indication of the Dicastery for the Clergy regarding their entry into the seminary.”

The statement did not specify which indication from the Dicastery for the Clergy the Holy Father was referring to.

According to the instruction published in 2005 by the then-Congregation for Catholic Education — the current Dicastery for Culture and Education — the Church “cannot admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practice homosexuality, present deeply rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”

The subject has surfaced repeatedly in recent weeks. 

At the beginning of June, the Italian newspaper Il Messagero published a letter from the Holy Father addressed to a young man excluded from the seminary for being homosexual, whom he encouraged to “move forward” with his vocation.

On May 20, during another closed-door meeting with Italian bishops, Pope Francis was reported to have used derisive language about the presence of homosexuality in seminaries. 

In response to press reports on the pope’s alleged language, on May 28 the Vatican issued a statement indicating that Pope Francis “never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term that was reported by others.”

According to the Holy See’s Press Office, at the June 11 meeting, after a greeting by Bishop Michele di Tolve and a moment of prayer, Pope Francis engaged in dialogue with the priests in attendance.

Among the topics discussed, the Holy Father referred to the identity of the priest and the beauty of being priests. The pope cited the model of Father Lorenzo Milani as “a great, a light for the Italian priest.”

The wide-ranging discussion also included the importance of accompanying those who suffer, particularly the elderly.

Other topics discussed included the current situation in Europe, the Holy Land, Ukraine, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others.

It was the third meeting Pope Francis has held with the priests of Rome in less than a month. On May 14 he met with the oldest priests and at the end of the month he visited the youngest.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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