WASHINGTON, August 30, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Officially promulgated onAugust 4, a new 98-page Program of Priestly Formation has been issued by
theUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB) after being approved bythe Vatican. Replacing
the fourth edition of the norms guiding priestly
formation in all seminaries published in 1992, the fifth edition has takenseriously the scandal of priestly sexual abuse. Speaking of a properformation in sexuality, the document states, "As we have recently seen sodramatically in the Church, when such foundations are lacking in priests,the consequent suffering and scandals are devastating."
In the section on "Norms for the admission of candidates" to the priesthood,the Program states explicitly that "Any evidence of criminal sexual
activitywith a minor or an inclination toward such
activity disqualifies theapplicant from admission."
And in the very next clause the document addresses persons with homosexualtendencies. "With regard to the admission of candidates with same sexexperiences and/or inclinations, the guidelines provided by the Holy Seemust be followed," says the document.
That statement, read faithfully, rules out admittance to the priesthood ofnot only practicing homosexuals, but also those with deep-seated
homosexualtendencies, as well as those who support
the homosexual lifestyle. Theauthoritative Vatican
document on the matter was released on November 28,
2005. The document, "Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment ofVocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of
theirAdmission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders",
stated, "the Church, whileprofoundly respecting the
persons in question, cannot admit to the seminaryor
to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seatedhomosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture'."
Despite the clarity from the Vatican, certain Bishops and seminary directorsbegan in earnest to attempt to twist the statement to say differently.
Whilesuch moves were relatively unsurprising from Los
Angeles Cardinal RogerMahony and Rochester Bishop
Matthew Clark, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor,the
archbishop of Westminster in the UK, contradicted the document in anofficial statement. "The Instruction is not saying that men of homosexual
orientation are not welcome in the priesthood," he said.
However, the USCCB Program will make such chicanery more difficult as itsays that "A candidate must be prepared to accept wholeheartedly theChurch's teaching on sexuality in its entirety."
The Program instructs not only the seminarian but also the seminary to befaithful to the totality of Catholic teaching on sexuality. "Theteaching ofsexual ethics must be thorough and
unambiguous in its presentation of theauthentic
teaching of the Church in sexual moral matters," says thedocument. It adds, "This is a matter of special import since theseminarian's formation in celibate chastity includes the intellectual
assentto, and embrace of, the Church's moral
teachings in matters of sexuality."
The program also insists that future priests have a good grasp on the "moralevils" of "contraception, abortion, and euthanasia." The documentsays: "Theimportance of a clear grasp of the
principles of medical-moral ethics cannotbe
underestimated for the future priest in the contemporary culture. Specialattention during his preparation should be given to the fundamental
respectfor human life from conception to natural
death and to the moral evils ofand pastoral means of
addressing contraception, abortion, and euthanasia."
The document "Program of Priestly Formation (Fifth Edition)" was developedby the Committee on Priestly Formation of the USCCB which was chaired byPhoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmstead, a man very familiar to regularLifeSiteNews.com readers for his valiant defense of faith, life and