In an interview published on Saturday, Pope Francis said he is “concerned” about the “serious issue” of homosexuality.
“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates,” the pontiff said with regards to would-be priests The Guardian reported.
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“In our societies, it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church,” he says in the book The Strength of a Vocation, released in Italy on Saturday.
“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he says in the book, a transcript of an interview that will be released in 10 languages.
The official opinion of The Roman Catholic church is that homosexual acts are sinful, and the pope’s stance on it isn’t a new one.
In 2016 Roman Catholic priests were stressed that they are obligated to sexual abstinence and that not only are gay men barred from being priests but also those who support “gay culture” should stay away from the holy orders.
Even those who “present homosexual tendencies” are barred, according to the Guardian.
“It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit (that tendency), but later on it comes out,” Francis said.
“In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.
“The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place.”
We “have to urge homosexual priests, and men and women religious, to live celibacy with integrity, and above all, that they be impeccably responsible, trying to never scandalize either their communities or the faithful holy people of God,” the pope said.
“It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”