(Irish Times) In 2002, at the height of the US Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis, Pope John Paul II summoned American bishops to Rome for 10 days. During the visit, the then president of the US Bishops Conference Wilton Gregory, said the Catholic Church (in the US, but presumably elsewhere too) had a problem with aspiring priests.
So many young men of a homosexual inclination were applying to study for the priesthood that “we might as well talk about a feminary rather than a seminary”, he declared. In 2002, a study by a Canadian consultancy, ReligiousTolerance.org, reported half of seminary students were gay. However, the percentage is irrelevant. For homosexual men, the reality is the priesthood is very attractive.
The majority of priests have a genuine vocation. However, there are others who are attracted to an all-male community, a place that may well have a gay subculture and offers instant relief from the difficulties of being openly gay in the secular world.
Such considerations apply to the Holy See, just as much as the rest of the church. Last October, a senior official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Polish monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa “came out”. Popes Benedict XVI and Francis have both admitted a “gay lobby” is active in the Vatican. Even the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis began with the withdrawal of Scottish cardinal Keith O’Brien, after he ad admitted to inappropriate gay “sexual misconduct”. [More]