Earlier this week, Pope Francis said that homosexuality in the clergy is a “serious matter” that “worries” him.
Excerpts of an interview with Pope Francis, in which he makes it clear that LGBT+ priests, nuns and monks are not welcome in the Catholic Church, were published online on Saturday.
The Pope said, “The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with candidates. In our societies, it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church.”
Pope Francis then affirmed his stance on the position of LGBT+ people as clergy members:
“In consecrated and priestly life, there is no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.”
Additionally, the Pope added that LGBT+ clergy members should step down from their position:
“It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life.”
Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer, who is gay and studied for five years as a seminarian in Maynooth in the 1980s, has since expressed his disappointment at the comments, saying the Pope was adopting a “very hard line” approach to LGBT+ issues.
“Being gay is not transient, it’s not a phase, it’s not a passing stage of one’s life – I’ve always made the point that, as a Christian, as a Catholic, I was born and being born in the image of the God who created me and the God that I pray to and worship,” the TD said.
Buttimer added, “For me, this is disappointing from Pope Francis whom I thought, given his initial statements that he would not judge people, would have travelled a journey of being more open, and understanding and accepting of LGBT people but obviously I was wrong.
“The church would be a better church, a more enhanced church by having a ministry that is open to all and it just baffles that the Pope, on one level seems to be a welcoming man and then in the next breath shuts the door completely to members of the LGBT community.
“There are many committed Christians and Catholics who are gay, some of them are afraid to come out but they make very fine contributions in the liturgy as lay readers and lay ministers of the Eucharist and they do a wonderful job in our churches, in our classrooms, in our choirs and as part of parish councils.”
The Fine Gael politician also pointed out that it was “wrong and deeply unfair” to preach at gay priests about celibacy when it applies to all priests.
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