In a book-length interview on priestly and religious life, Pope Francis has expressed his concern about homosexuality and the “human and affective maturity” of candidates for the priesthood or religious life.
Homosexuality, in particular, “is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case”, says the Pope in the book The Strength of a Vocation which will be released in 10 languages today.
“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,” he says.
Pope Francis reminds the interviewer, Fr Fernando Prado, director of the Claretian publishing house in Madrid, that “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 scandalise 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.”