The Dispatch: More from CWR...

In new book on clergy and religious life, Pope Francis addresses homosexuality

“In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church,” says Francis in an upcoming book-length interview.

Pope Francis arrives Nov. 29 for a Vatican meeting with participants attending the International Convention of the Rectors and Pastoral Workers of Shrines. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Vatican City, Nov 30, 2018 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- In a book-length interview to be published next week, Pope Francis addressed gifts and challenges for clerical and religious vocations, among them the challenge of homosexuality in the clergy.

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be exacting. 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 says in the book “The Strength of a Vocation,” set to be released Dec. 3 in ten languages.

In an excerpt from the book, released Friday by Religión Digital, the pope said he is concerned about the issue of evaluating and forming people with homosexual tendencies in the clergy and consecrated life.

“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he said.

Francis said that with candidates for the priesthood or religious life “we have to take great care during formation in the human and affective maturity. We have to seriously discern, and listen to the voice of experience that the Church also has. When care is not taken in discerning all of this, problems increase. As I said before, it can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency],  but later on it comes out.”

“The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case,” the pope reiterated.

Francis recalled that one time “I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had found out that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to deal with all that, intervening, above all, in the formation process, to form a different group of clergy.”

“It’s a reality we can’t deny. There is no lack of cases in the consecrated life either. A religious told me that, on a canonical visit to one of the provinces in his congregation, he was surprised. He saw that there were good young students and even some already professed religious who were gay,” he related.

The pope said that the religious “wondered if it were an issue and asked me if there was something wrong with that. Francis said he was told by one religious superior that the issue was not “that serious, it’s just an expression of an affection.”

“That’s a mistake,” Francis warned. “It’s not just an expression of an affection. 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 by living a double life. It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”

The pope was asked in the book if there are limits to what can be tolerated in formation.

“Of course. When there are candidates with neurosis, marked imbalances, difficult to channel not even with therapeutic help, they shouldn’t be accepted to either the priesthood or the religious life, They should be helped to take another direction (but they should not be abandoned. They should be guided, but they should not be admitted. Let us always bear in mind that they are persons who are going to live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let’s not forget that perspective. We have to care for them so they are psychologically and affectively healthy,” the pope replied.

The book is the transcript of an interview conducted by Fr. Fernando Prado, director of the Claretian publishing house in Madrid.

This article was originally published by CNA’s sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. No Catholic following Jesus can follow Pope Francis, the McCarrick candidate. According to Rev. Kolvenbach (former head of the SJ), Jorge Bergoglio was unfit to be a Bishop.

    And now he writes about neurosis? Malicious…

  2. “Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.”

    Oughtn’t it to be much stornger than “recomends?” I woud think forbidding it would make more sense.

    • The relationship between religious congregations and the Magisterium is set out in canon law and in the proper laws of the institutes. Impediments to entry into religious life are specified, and they need to be objectively verifiable. For example, someone who is married cannot be admitted to the three vows of religious life because he or she is already bound by a previous vow. The state of a valid marriage can be verified. The condition of deep seated homosexual or heterosexual tendencies is not easily verifiable, and to make that an impediment to religious life opens the door to abuses. The number of abusers is tragic , but there have also been false accusations. (See A false accusation of homosexual tendency could destroy someone’s true vocation.

  3. Praise you Holy Spirit…the Pope’s comments could have been pro-gay. In re-reading “City of God” and several comments on this seminal book I have found several lessons which are applicable for our time. First, as the Pope mentioned, human beings have not changed since Adam and Eve but our collective reading of reality continues to change, not evolve, but change. Given this, the goal remains the same, (how to get to heaven), but the distractions seem be getting more sophisticated but if we remember our dual citizenship in the City of Lies and the City of God we can persevere. Second, as scientific method evolved and the use of gunpowder as an equalizer in battle evolved, (A child can shoot and kill a heavily armed and well trained knight on horseback from a distance of 100 feet), leisure time enabled social changes to occur, (Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, et al), where ultimately notions of the sovereignty of the individual in determining the social contract of nationhood has morphed from the citizen as King to the citizen as God, not happy to just legislate for the Earthly city of man but a determination to rule the City of God – again, this is not new for even Satan tempted Jesus with the same temptation of hubris, (Matt. 4:1-11). Like Jesus’ example we can overcome the lies of Satan if we can all remember as Christians that we are united as sinners in the need of healing and redemption, a redemption through the grace of God in the love and respect for all human beings in the name of Jesus Christ our true Lord and Savior. These are hard times but we can and must preserve and protect our Holy Mother Church for the future generations.

  4. The Jekyll and Hyde Papacy continues. Take a look at the intrinsically disordered individuals that the Pope has appointed, elevated and surrounded himself with. You can’t, as only one example, on one hand bring James Martin LFBTQSJ – aka The Pied Piper of Sodomy – to work in the Vatican and then on the other say that homosexuals shouldn’t be admitted to seminary let alone be ordained.

    Until he starts dismissing from the clerical state all homosexuals whose ordinations, while valid, were illicit and in violation of Church teaching, I will remain a skeptic of the Bishop of Rome.

  5. The church offers no safe heaven for the “disordered” Gay person. That attitude conflicts with society in general. I believe that the priest scandal has forced the Vatican to modify its’ approach to Gays since it appears that many priests are homosexuals. Gays began “coming out” many years ago. If God made Gays the church should encourage them to come out to God.

    • God made murderers, thieves, perjurers, adulterers, etc., etc., etc., too. That doesn’t mean that their sins are not sins and should not be repented and avoided. Those who call themselves “gay” (and why on earth are you capitalizing it? Do you capitalize Murderers, too? I notice you don’t capitalize Church) are those who have decided that since they have a particular temptation that must mean that what they are tempted to do isn’t a sin. Which is nonsense.

      The Church offers safe haven to all. But sinners need to repent of their sins, not revel in them.

      • To further add to Leslie’s comment:

        It can be said that calling oneself “gay” constitutes a false anthropology and an error in reasoning; as Natural Law and Divine Law teaches us. Furthermore, the conception that priests have started to “come out,” as morganB alluded to, shows the simple fact that the laity are confused and that these priests are costing themselves and their flock their salvation and are abusing Holy Mother Church, for they are not (i) carrying their crosses as Our Blessed Lord commanded, nor are they (ii) properly aligned with the Church’s teaching or the vows that they accepted. This, while they are catechizing their flock into error and away from the Church’s teaching.

        One must remember that the concept of gay or homosexuality is by definition the act of sodomy; for one to define himself with a sinful action is demonic, to say the least. Such a disordered state will eventually lead to abuses in his vows and the sacraments. If you want empirical data, just look at the sexual abuse of boys and seminarians, abuses of teaching and the constant attempt at undermining Natural Law by way of heresy (modernism).

  6. Pope Francis is absolutely correct: “there is no room in the priestly or religious life for that kind of affection.” That applies to both homosexual and heterosexual affections. We, by our vow of chastity, dedicate ourselves totally to Jesus Christ for His body, the Church. This means that we give our whole self to an inaudible, invisible, incarnate God. That is the challenge of celibacy. We believe that He reciprocates our gift, but we accept to live in the seeming emptiness of faith. Without this relationship with Him, there is no way we can keep our vow, for “it is not good for man to be alone.” Without a deep, living relationship with Him, we will look for intimacy elsewhere.

  7. ‘“This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention,” he said.’ I always conclude my daily Rosary with a prayer for Pope Francis as I once did for Pope Benedict XVI. I pray especially that Francis will be strengthened concerning this subject. It must be agreed that the quotation mentioned here is true. The problem of homosexuality in the priesthood is something that must be addressed and that under John Paul and Pope Benedict (and their predecessors) it did not receive the oversight (attention) needed or else we would not be where we are today. It still needs to be proven as to to how “concerned” Pope Francis truly is about this situation (homosexuality in religious life) by actually doing something to shut it down.

  8. Poor CWR readers/editors. They can’t win. They need hit-pieces on Pope Francis as their daily bread – find some way to paint him as anti-pope.
    But when he says something they *agree* with they have to contort themselves into figuring out how he is actually saying something heretical! That’s no way to go through life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.