At Vatican Insider I spotted something interesting. Each Spring the Italian bishops have a plenary meeting at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall, in the smaller hall where the Synod usually meets. The Pope attends at least part of the meeting. This year was no exception.
This year the Pope told them… my fast translation from the Italian original:
“If there’s a doubt about homosexuality, it’s better not to have them enter the seminary.”
The words of the Pope in the closed door session with the Italian bishops: “Discernment is needed”. Reaffirmed what was in the Vatican documents of 2005 and 2016
With the pastors of the CEI (Italian bishops conference) – Vatican insider learned – Francis, speaking about the downturn in vocations, one of his “three worries” for the Italian church, he was, instead, more straightforward and, inviting the bishops to oversee more the quality of future priests, then the quantity, explicitly mentioned cases of homosexual persons who desire, for various motives, to enter into the seminary. Then he invited the bishops to a “careful discernment”, adding: “if you have also the slightest doubt it’s better not to let them enter”.
One indication, from the Pope, that expresses his deep concern: these tendencies, which are “deeply rooted”, and the practice of “homosexual acts”, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and an eventual future priesthood. They can generate those “scandals” of which the Pope had spoken in his discourse at the opening of the assembly of the Italian bishops in the new hall of the Synod, that disfigure the face of the Church.
Between the lines one can read what was already put in black and white by Pope Francis in a letter of meditation given brevi manu [directly] to the Chile in bishops during their meeting in the Vatican. In a note added to the text. The Pontiff denounced verified problems in seminaries where – as he wrote – bishops and religious superiors have entrusted control to “priests suspected of practicing homosexuality”.
There’s more, but it mainly reviews what previous documents say about homosexual candidates or seminarians. I suspect someone will translate the whole thing soon… for the sake of general Jesuit reading.
To the bishops: “If you think that the guy is homosexual, don’t put him in the seminary.”
The Pontiff – the Pontifex… “Bridge Builder” – says that “This bridge is closed!”
I wonder what that means for those who are already ordained.