VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis warned Italian bishops this week to vet carefully applicants to the priesthood and reject anyone they suspected might be homosexual, local media reported on Thursday.
“Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,” the pope was quoted as saying by newspaper La Stampa’s Vatican Insider service. “If in doubt, better not let them enter.”
The Vatican did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the remarks, which Vatican Insider and Il Messaggero said were made at a closed-door gathering on Monday.
Francis’s meeting with Italian bishops came just a day after a Chilean man who suffered clerical sexual abuse quoted the pope as telling him in a private conversation that God had made him gay and loved him that way. Read more via Reuters
In a closed-door speech to Italian bishops on Monday, Pope Francis spoke about the number and quality of seminary candidates, including concerns about their sexual orientation. At the start of his May 21 audience with Italian bishops, Pope Francis voiced three areas of concern for the Church in Italy, the first of which was the lack of vocations.
Francis' brief remarks on his concerns, which also touched on evangelical poverty and transparency and the incorporation of Italian dioceses, were televised; however, his discussion with the bishops afterward was not.
In his public remarks on vocations, Pope Francis lamented the culture of the provisional, of relativism, and of the dictatorship of money, which hinder young people from discerning consecrated life. He also proposed that Italian dioceses with an abundance of vocations lend some of their priests to those Italian dioceses lacking in priests.
But in the discussion that followed the pope told the bishops to care more for the quality of seminary candidates than the quantity. Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, president of the Italian bishops' conference, confirmed Francis' comments about homosexuality in a May 24 press conference. Read more via CNA