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Pope Francis has approved a new Vatican document reaffirming that “persons with homosexual tendencies” are barred from Roman Catholic seminaries and the priesthood.

The document, entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” was drafted by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, and it is meant to offer wide-ranging guidelines for priestly formation.

The new document says that men “who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’” cannot become priests.

It goes on to say that gay men “find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.”

“One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” it says.

LGBT Catholics and their supporters were saddened by the document. “The writers of the document seem to have closed their eyes to the fact that thousands upon thousands of gay men are already serving faithfully and effectively in the Catholic priesthood,” said a statement issued by Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBT equality in the church. “Indeed, without gay men, the Church would not be able to operate.”

“Had the document not been approved by Pope Francis, it could easily be dismissed as the work of over-zealous Vatican officials,” DeBernardo continued. “But the pope’s approval of this text is a great disappointment to many people — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual supporters — who held out greater hopes for this pontiff who had done so much to open church discussion on matters of sexual orientation and gender identity. So much of the language about gay men is simply a restatement from the 2005 document issued by Pope Benedict XVI. In his three-and-a-half years as pontiff, Francis has shown that he has moved away from Benedict’s approach to issues of sexuality.”

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Pope Francis has approved a new Vatican document reaffirming that “persons with homosexual tendencies” are barred from Roman Catholic seminaries and the priesthood. The document, entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” was drafted by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy, and it is meant to offer wide-ranging guidelines for priestly...