Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gay Priests

Today's question comes from several people.
What is the official stance of the Catholic Church on gay priests?
There is not really an official standard in the church, when it comes to gay priests.  There are some documents and statements that people point to as official, but they are not accepted and followed everywhere.

If you want an official document on who can and who cannot be accepted as a priest, you're looking for The Program for Priestly Formation.  This document sets the guidelines for the entire United States, and the most recent update was in 2006.  All the document says about gay priests is this: "With regard to the admission of candidates with same-sex experiences and/or inclinations, the guidelines provided by the Holy See must be followed." (PPF, section 56)

In practice, what happens is that the local authorities decide who they want to sponsor for the priesthood.  Some places refuse to allow gay people to become priests, while other places refuse to allow straight people to become priests.  I've seen discussions on whether the priesthood should be all-gay or all-straight, but neither side has a superior argument, and neither side seems to properly understand celibacy.

I think most places will accept a good man as a priest, regardless of his orientation.  In my seminary experience, sexual orientation, in and of itself, was never an issue for anyone.  Celibacy is a whole different ball game, though.


Anonymous said...

I don’t understand why one’s sexual preference is an even issue in some churches since most priesthoods require one to be celibate. It seems like a mute point, in my opinion. To me, just an out of the way example, it would be like being concerned with how long a priest’s hair is, in a church that requires you to shave your hair. It’s a mute point what length your hair was because you are not going to be using it anyway. Seems like the same thing with one’s sexual preference. They aren’t going to be using it, so what’s the issue?

Emma said...

i am happy that it seem like the qualifications for priesthood are simply goodness and worthiness. sexual orientation does not determine someone's goodness! thanks, michael!

Anonymous said...

"moot" point, Anon =) But I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you, Anon 12:10. I was typing on my phone and, much like Clara, autocorrect is not my friend ;)

Anonymous said...

Ah, sorry! I promise I'm not a grammar Nazi - moot/mute is just one of those common misunderstandings.

Sammy said...

I think that if you are a Catholic priest, you should follow the rules that the scriptures say. And it does say that gay marriage is wrong. Now, I know that priests aren't perfect. They sin like everyone else does, so I don't want people telling me that I'm being hypocritical because I think gay marriage is wrong, yet I still sin, even though the Bible says it's wrong. Being a priest, you should especially try your hardest every day to follow the scriptures, and try your hardest to do better. And I don't know if you can really do that if you're living a life that the bible states is wrong. I'm not trying to cause an argument. Just sharing my opinion. :) ~Samantha