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Pope Francis Warns Bishops of “Too Much Faggotry” in Seminaries

Updated: Jun 14

Vatican invites Italian 'drag queen’ to perform for kids at the World Children’s Day


Pope Francis has been forced to apologize for using the word “faggotry” to instruct Italian bishops to ban homosexual candidates from being admitted into seminaries, after triggering a media storm.


“Look, there is already an air of too much faggotry around [in seminaries] that is not good,” the pontiff is reported to have told a 90-minute, closed door-meeting of the general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference on May 20.


While homosexuals need to be respected, “those who have a homosexual orientation are better off not being accepted [into the seminary],” Francis emphasized, not making the distinction between a homosexual orientation and active homosexuals.

On Tuesday, Holy See Press Office spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement acknowledging the pope's comments, noting that Francis has long insisted there was “room for everyone” in the Catholic Church.

“The pope never intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who were offended by the use of a term that was reported by others,” Bruni said.


Some bishops who spoke on condition of anonymity with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera said that the remarks were met with “incredulous laughter,” since they were interpreted as an honest mistake by Francis, for whom Italian is a second language.


Other sources, however, noted that the pope’s extempore comments were received with “stunned silence” and embarrassment. A few bishops defended the pope saying that he may not have known that the word “frociaggine” (faggotry) is nowadays regarded as offensive.


Francesco Lepore, a former priest who is now a gay rights activist, told Italian daily La Repubblica, he was “stunned” by the pontiff’s comments to over 200 bishops who had assembled in the Vatican’s old synod hall.


“Despite being accustomed by now to the type of direct language on the part of Bergoglio, speaking of faggotry in the seminaries seems more like a bar and a tavern [attendant] than a pontiff,” Lepore said.


“The pope is right that the number of homosexual seminarians and clerics is very high. But the simplicity of language has nothing to do with vulgarity,” he added.


However, Catholic Sat, a conservative media blog, pointed out that “The pope knew the word was offensive and used it to shut down the Italian bishops [sic] repeated attempts to change the rules and allow homosexuals into seminary.”


“By my count the pope has used at least six different homophobic slurs on multiple occasions during the course of his pontificate to describe homosexuals and Trads,” the outlet tweeted.


While the pope’s comments have delighted conservatives and traditionalists, liberal Catholics are responding with shock and embarrassment. Francis famously replied “Who am I to judge?” when asked about a “gay lobby” at the Vatican on the plane ride back from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.


Italian media said that Francis was addressing a new document being discussed by the Italian bishops regarding the admission of homosexuals to formation for the priesthood.


Titled “Ratio Formationis Sacerdotalis,” the document was approved at a meeting of the Italian Episcopal Conference in Assisi last November, with the majority of bishops voting for an amendment that distinguishes between simple homosexual orientation and “deeply rooted tendencies.”


While the document approves the entry of candidates under the former category, it bans men with deep rooted homosexual tendencies from entering seminary formation. However, the Vatican has not yet approved the document.


According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, this would mean “that a homosexual person could be admitted to the seminary if, like the heterosexual, he gave the guarantee that he knows how to live the discipline of celibacy.”


“The implication is that it is more difficult for homosexuals because they will be living in an all-male community for many years,” the Italian daily explained.


Liberals said that the pontiff was merely reiterating the official Vatican position on the issue.


In 1961, Pope John XXIII issued his “Instruction on the Careful Selection and Training Of Candidates for the States of Perfection and Sacred Orders” stating:


“Advantage to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”


In 2005, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education followed up with an “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”


The document noted that bishops or religious superiors “cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture.’”


However, it made a concession for men “dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem — for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded.”


“Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate,” it ruled.


Meanwhile, Catholics are expressing shock after a male “drag queen” Carmine De Rosa was invited to perform during Pope Francis’ first World Children’s Day on May 25 at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.


Wearing a pink dress with a plunging neck-line, the native of Salerno, dressed as a woman, wearing multiple outfits in drag and also used suggestive cardboard costumes.


Writing on TikTok, the performer stated that “bringing smiles to children and beyond was my task and I succeeded.”


“I would like to point out, reading the comments, that I was WANTED at this event FOR THE TYPE OF SHOW I CARRY ON STAGE and for professionalism…But I simply defend MY ART,” he wrote.


The pope met with children in the Olympic Stadium, and on Sunday he presided over Holy Mass for Trinity Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, where altar girls assisted in the celebration for the first time at a Vatican Mass.


Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.

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1 Comment

Hey, Holy Father, it needed to be said. Now, how about fixing the problem?

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