Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that “there is no place” in the clergy for gay people and that the issue of homosexuality “worries” him.
Several Italian news outlets have published excerpts from a four-hour interview between Pope Francis and Spanish Missionary Fernando Prado, soon to be published as a book titled The strength of vocation. Consecrated life today.
The book addresses various issues regarding serving in the Catholic Church, including who is best placed to enter the clergy.
Catholic newspaper Avvenire published on November 29 the full excerpt in which Prado asks the Pontiff specifically addresses the inclusion of “people with homosexual tendencies.”
Francis begins his answer admitting that the issue is “something that worries me, because perhaps at some point it has not been dealt with well.”
“In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable.”
— Pope Francis
He then proceeds to describe homosexuality as “a very serious matter, which must be discerned adequately from the beginning” with those who seek to become part of the clergy.
“We must be demanding. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and this mentality, in some way, also affects the life of the Church,” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis Upholds traditional teachings on homosexuality
The official teaching of the Catholic Church reject homosexuality as an “objective disorder” and “intrinsically disordered.”
Despite his reputation as a progressive force within the Church, having previously voiced support for embracing LGBT+ Catholics, Pope Francis upheld these teachings in the interview with Prado.
The pontiff, who recently suggested that LGBT+ children should be taken to see a psychiatrist, said that the existence of gay priests is an issue that he has discussed with other members of the clergy.
He recalled a religious leader telling him that, in his congregation, there were “good young students and even some already professed clergymen” who were gay.
“He himself had doubts about the thing and asked me if there was anything wrong with this,” Francis recalled, adding that the religious leader told him that perhaps it wasn’t a serious issue and that ultimately it was only “an expression of affection.”
But the pontiff disagreed with such position, telling Prado the religious leader was mistaken.
“It is not just an expression of affection. In the consecrated life and in the priestly life there is no place for this kind of affection,” Pope Francis said, adding: “For this reason, the Church recommends that people with this rooted tendency are not accepted in the ministry or in the consecrated life. The ministry or the consecrated life are not their place.”
Pope Francis has previously expressed opposition to gay men entering the clergy in closed-door remarks to the Italian Bishops’ Conference quoted in CNN. “If in doubt, better not let them enter,” the pontiff reportedly said at the time.