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Pope Urges Expelled Homosexual Seminarian to Pursue Vocation

Francis writes to gay aspirant contradicting claim of “too much faggotry” in seminaries

Pope Francis is encouraging a seminarian dismissed for homosexuality to pursue his calling to the priesthood, days after the pontiff triggered a media storm by noting that there is already “too much faggotry” in seminaries.


“I was expelled from the seminary because I said I was gay. I wanted to be a priest, but I wasn’t permitted,” Lorenzo Michele Noè Caruso wrote to Francis in a three-page email on May 28, after he read the pope’s reported comments on gays in seminaries.


Caruso told the pope he and many young people “feel lost in a Church that often seems to be tied to a toxic and elective clericalism, where only some deserve to be welcomed and where others are excluded as false Christians.”


Like him, many other gay seminarians “live on the margins of the Church, often forced to hide because they are excluded from the community or forced to pay the high price of rejection for their sincerity,” Caruso stressed, speaking of his work as a catechist.


Caruso praised the ongoing discussion on LGBTQI+ inclusion in the Synod on Synodality, saying he trusts the process as “a turning point to walk together under the light of Christ, where no one is rejected, and everyone is an expression of God’s plan for our church.”


The expelled seminarian also asked the pope to ensure that the Italian bishops review “the ban on admission to the seminary of homosexual people.”


On June 1, Caruso received a handwritten reply from Francis, which was scanned and attached to the email he had sent. “Thank you so much for your email,” the pope wrote.   


“Jesus calls everyone, everyone. Some think of the Church as a customs house, and this is bad. The Church must be open to all. Brother, go ahead with your vocation,” Francis replied, addressing Caruso as “Dear, ‘One of the many seeds in the Lord's vineyard.’”


“It’s true! You know that clericalism is a plague? It’s an ugly ‘worldliness’ and as a great theologian said, ‘worldliness is the worst that can happen to the church, even worse than the era of concubinary popes’,” Francis wrote, citing the theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar.


“Go forward with your vocation … I pray for you, please do it for me (I need it),” Francis added.


On Sunday, the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero broke the story of Caruso’s email to Francis and the pope’s immediate response in a handwritten letter. A day later, the Italian Bishops’ Conference news media, L’Avvenire, confirmed the story, reporting on it favorably.


Speaking to Italian media, Caruso described the pontiff’s letter as “a beautiful response” which “makes it clear who the real pope is — it’s not what they made you believe.”


“This letter gives me hope, now the seminary remains a dream that hasn’t been set aside. He told me, continue with your vocation,” the gay aspirant gushed.

Critics are blasting Francis’ letter of affirmation to Caruso as a sensational volte-face after the pontiff cautioned the Italian Bishops’ Conference not to admit homosexuals to seminaries.


Italy’s La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana editorial slammed the pope’s response to Caruso as an “inconceivable contradiction, which turns into a victory for the LGBT lobby.”


“It is clear that there is no way to reconcile the issue on ‘faggotry’ with this letter,” editor Riccardo Cascioli noted. “It is true that ‘go ahead with your vocation’ could mean anything, but in this context, it could only be read as a green light to enter the seminary.”


“How is it possible to affirm one thing and also its opposite in the space of a week, and on such a delicate topic?” Cascioli asked.


Meanwhile, a second homosexual seminarian who left a seminary in Sicily, is claiming that he was subjected to so-called conversion therapy because he fell in love with another man during his period of formation.


“It was the darkest period of my life," Rosario Lonegro told the BBC, recalling his seminary experience in 2017.


“The psychological pressure to be someone I was not, was insurmountable. I could not change no matter how hard I tried,” he said.    


Lonegro, who was 20-years-old at the time, claimed he was locked in a dark closet, forced to strip naked in front of fellow participants, and even required to enact his own funeral, as part of the conversion therapy process.


The seminarian said he left the seminary after suffering a nervous breakdown in 2018. “During those meetings, one mantra haunted me and was repeated over and over: ‘God didn’t make me that way. God didn’t make me homosexual. It’s only a lie I tell myself,’ I thought I was evil,” he said.


Lonegro now shares an apartment with his boyfriend in Milan. While he still believes in God, he no longer wants to become a priest.

Holy See Press Office spokesman Matteo Bruni later issued a mildly apologetic statement acknowledging the pope's comments on "faggotry" in seminaries.

Francis has long insisted there was “room for everyone” in the Catholic Church, Bruni explained.

“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.


 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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----“Jesus calls everyone, everyone.....” Francis replied----

" go and sin no more." Why can't Francis remember the important part(s) of the Gospel message?


When will people be able to distinguish between persons having homosexual tendencies and people committing sodomy? It seems so straightforward to me! For a Roman Catholic cleric to have a sexual relationship with a person of any gender is a sin, is it not?

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