Gay Priests, Secret Rules and the Abuse of Nuns: Some of the Vatican Controversies as Bishops Meet – The New York Times

Pope Francis once famously signaled more openness to gay priests when he said, “Who am I to judge?” But since then he has seemed to reverse course. Last year, Francis called homosexuality “fashionable” and recommended that men with “this deep-seated tendency” not be accepted into the priesthood.

In the Netherlands this week, a group of gay priests made public a letter sent to Francis late last year calling out the church’s stance on homosexuality in the priesthood. It said Vatican leaders “tend to suggest that those priests who are openly gay are the ones responsible for the sexual abuse of children and minors,” and asked for a rethinking of the policies around gay priests.

The debate promises to make its way into the bishop meetings.

While Catholic priests make a commitment to a life of celibacy, the Vatican has an internal protocol for dealing with the children of those who violate that vow. The Times made it public this week.

The Vatican confirmed that its department overseeing Catholic priests globally has general guidelines for what to do when clerics father children.

Sometimes the children are born from relationships between priests and women in the community — or nuns. But other children are the consequence of rape.

The internal church document, which is from 2017, lays out guidelines for the “protection of the child,” a Vatican spokesman said.

And though it requests that priests leave the church if they father children, there is no requirement that they do so.

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