POPE John Paul II said that the Roman Catholic Church had to be much more careful not to let men with “deviations in their affections” enter the priesthood to preserve the Church, on September 5 at the Vatican City.

The Pope’s comments were obviously in response to the clergy sex abuse scandals in the West and the dissent from Catholic teaching, especially on moral issues, that the Pope believes is at the root of the scandals.
Although he did not directly refer to homosexuality, the Pope clearly implied it, along with other sexual aberrations, as something that should not be present in those accepted into seminaries.

The Pope, who has said before he felt personally wounded by the child sex scandals, told the Brazilians he felt “a duty” to remind all bishops they had to use “all means” at their disposal to keep unqualified men out of the priesthood.

Candidates, he said, had to be screened “above all from the standpoint of morals and affections.”

He said those who should never be allowed to make it to ordination included “young, immature men or those with obvious signs of deviations in their affections.”

“As we sadly know, such men can cause grave deviations in the consciences of the faithful, with obvious harm for the entire Church,” he said.

The various sexual scandals have led to calls for a change in the rule on celibacy. A debate has raged in the Church, with critics of celibacy saying it was ultimately to blame. Supporters of celibacy say linking it with pedophilia in a cause-and-effect relationship is plain wrong.

Back to the roots

The last time the Pope publicly spoke about the sex scandals was in Toronto, Canada, last July, when he said the sexual abuse of children by priests was a source of shame and sadness to Catholics, and asked church members to rally behind the “vast majority” of virtuous clerics.

Addressing the serious accountability of bishops, the Pope emphasized that “No bishop can excuse himself from this responsibility, for which he must give an account before God”. Rose A. Jabeguero, with reports from cnn.com


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