WASHINGTON - November 29 - A new instruction from the Vatican that calls for the removal of gay priests and places a ban on gay seminarians and supporters of "gay culture" is being labeled as destructive to families of faith by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
"While many religious groups have made brave strides towards the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) members of their faith communities, this new instruction from the Vatican accomplishes the complete opposite, leaving the church stuck in the past," said Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG executive director. "Excluding gay men -- and ostensibly, those who support them -- is hardly following the core values of love and acceptance found in the Gospels. For the millions of families for whom religion is a powerful shaping force in their lives, and for those who look to Rome for spiritual direction, this edict attempts to drive a destructive wedge between their faith and their love and acceptance of GLBT family and friends."
The document, officially released today, "Instruction Concerning The Criteria Of Vocational Discernment Regarding Persons With Homosexual Tendencies In View Of Their Admission To Seminaries And Holy Orders," dictates that individuals "who practice homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture" may not be admitted to the seminary, and that priests who fall into these categories should be removed from their posts.
In another demonstration of the Vatican's refusal to deal with facts, the Instruction labels homosexuality as a "problem" that can be overcome -- a belief contrary to all accepted scientific research. The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association and American Medical Association all reject contentions that homosexuality is a psychological or physiological disorder and argue that any attempts to change sexual orientation (referred to by many extremist groups as "reparative therapy") are damaging and unsuccessful.
"Not only has the church endorsed a plan of action that is destructive, but it is based on outdated and incorrect concepts of what homosexuality is," said Huckaby.
"Catholics are taught that the Gifts of the Spirit include wisdom and understanding. Unfortunately, this new move by the Vatican pushes gay seminarians and priests away from these gifts and towards a new set of rules for their lives -- secrecy, dishonesty, and denial. There's nothing spiritual about that," said Melina Waldo, PFLAG mom and Catholic.