Men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be admitted to the Catholic clergy, and it would be better for priests who are actively gay to leave rather than lead a double life, Pope Francis says in a new book.
While he has previously spoken of the need for better screening of candidates for the religious life, his comments suggesting that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave are some of his clearest to date.
Francis made the comments in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called “The Strength of Vocation”, in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today.
Francis said in the book that homosexuality in the Church “is something that worries me”. It is due to be published this week in several languages. An advance copy of the Italian version was made available to Reuters.
“The question of homosexuality is a very serious one,” he said, adding that those entrusted with training men to be priests must be certain that candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” before they can be ordained.
This also applied to women who wanted to enter female religious communities to become nuns. In the Catholic Church, priests, nuns and monks all take vows of celibacy.
The Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are not sinful in themselves, but homosexual acts are.
Francis said there was “no room for this” in the lives of priests and nuns, adding that the Church had to be “demanding” in choosing candidates for what is known as the consecrated life.