Pope Francis is “concerned” his clergy is adopting the ‘fashion’ of homosexuality and recommends seminarians demonstrating gay tendencies be rejected early on, the pontiff said in an interview Saturday.
"In our societies, it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," the Pope told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper.
As described in his recent book, ‘The Strength of a Vocation,” the Catholic leader explained, "The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates.
"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,” he said, adding that superiors should ensure candidates are “humanly and emotionally mature” prior to taking their final vows.
“(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 can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out...It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life,” he said.
Although the Catholic Church has long rejected homosexuality, the pope’s announcement comes amid an onslaught of sexual abuse allegations against high ranking religious officials, damaging confidence in Chile, the United States, Australia, Poland, Ireland, and other countries.