“Gay priests should leave rather than lead a double life”: Pope Francis

“Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and it would be better for priests who are actively gay to leave rather than lead a double life”, say Pope Francis in a new book.

In a book- length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called “The Strength of Vocation”, Pope Francis discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today and his comments suggest that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave. This also applied to women who wanted to enter female religious communities to become nuns. In the Catholic Church, priests, nuns and monks all take vows of celibacy.

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In the book, he says that homosexuality in the Church is something that worries him. It is due to be published this week in several languages.

“The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” he said. “Those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are humanly and emotionally mature before they can be ordained”, he added. The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful in themselves, but homosexual acts are.

“It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life,” he said urging homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating scandal.

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The interview was conducted in mid-August, this year. In less than two weeks time, on 26th August, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the Vatican, threw the Church into turmoil with a bombshell statement against the pope and Vatican officials.

Vigano said a ‘homosexual network’ existed in the Vatican, whose members helped promote each other’s careers in the Church and also accused the pope of having ignored alleged sexual misconduct with adult male seminarians by former American cardinal Theodore McCarrick, 88.

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The Vatican said Vigano’s accusations were loaded with ‘calumny and defamation’.

The Catholic Church has been haunted for more than two decades by evidence of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy around the world, in countries ranging from the United States to Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Chile, as per reports.

In July, McCarrick became the first cardinal to resign in nearly 100 years after U.S. Church officials said the allegations made in a separate investigation that he had sexually abused a 16-year-old boy almost 50 years ago were credible and substantiated.

(With agency inputs)

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