Vocations for homosexuals?

It’s my understanding that Pope Benedict ordered that those who struggle with SSA, even if celibate, cannot be ordained to the priesthood. Can they be a deacon? Can they be allowed to join a monastery (I can see how that might be an extra struggle for some, but they might be able to handle it?) I’m just curious because there seem to be a decent number of Catholics who struggle with SSA. I have heard that the ruling only applies to those who identify as “homosexual,” but what if a Catholic has no attraction to the opposite gender, and only has attraction to the same gender, but also feels the calling of God to serve in the priesthood, diaconate, or in some other way?

It would seem to me that if one had SSA, and therefore would need to remain celibate, the priesthood would be a good place to be. :shrug:

If those who have SSA but are celibate cannot be ordained, I’m not sure what the rationale could be.

I agree with you. However, I heard that such was a ruling under the most recent pope, Benedict XVI. The rationale I heard, which I don’t find rational, was blaming priests with ssa for the pedophilia scandal. Granted, I am very new to the church, and most of the reports I have heard about it are from the mainstream media, but I was sure that I heard it also mentioned on EWTN and even possibly in a thread here a while back (I can’t find the thread as I didn’t respond to it nor subscribe to it. ) Maybe I was misinformed or maybe I misunderstood, but it sounded to me like it was officially ruled that men who are homosexual, even though celibate, could no longer enter the priesthood.

I claim ignorance of any such decree from our Pope Emeritus or any other successor to the chair of Peter (although I am ignorant on a number of issues).

However, I do see something substantive to consider on the surface of the question… Specifically, that those who struggle with same sex attraction may not be a good candidate for the priesthood. With regard to this sentiment, I don’t necessarily disagree. To be fair, I also think that those who struggle with the control of their heterosexual desires are in many cases similarly poor candidates for the priesthood (specifically due to the weakness of the flesh).

Catholic priests are called not to dwell on heterosexual or homosexual orientations, but rather, they are called to a life of celibacy and the imitation of Christ. It seems that characteristics of a good candidate for the priesthood should include a natural character agreement with the call as to allow someone to live a celibate life. In my estimation, other desirable traits include temperance, modesty, self control, council, empathy, etc…

It would be disconcerting to me that someone considering a lifelong vow of celibacy should feel it necessary to define themselves primarily by their sexual orientation. It could be a signal for a lack of maturity as well - as far as I can tell.

IMO, too often today, people self identify as belonging to this or that group because of certain feelings which may (or may not) change as one grows and matures.

What you said above sounds like gossip. Here is what Benedict XVI said in an interview with Peter Seewald, which can be found on pages 152-153 of Light of the World.*“Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation. Otherwise, celibacy itself would lose its meaning as a renunciation. It would be extremely dangerous if celibacy became a sort of pretext for bringing people into priesthood who don’t want to get married anyway. For, in the end, their attitude toward man and woman is somehow distorted, off centre, and, in any case, is not within the direction of creation of which we have spoken. The Congregation for Education issued a decision a few years ago to the effect that homosexual candidates cannot become priests because their sexual orientation estranges them from the proper sense of paternity, from the intrinsic nature of priestly being. The selection of candidates to the priesthood must therefore be very careful. The greatest attention is needed here in order to prevent the intrusion of this kind of ambiguity and to head off a situation where the celibacy of priests would practically end up being identified with the tendency to homosexuality”*You see a couple key points in here that the priesthood shouldn’t be seen as some sort of refuge for gays simply because they do not want to marry a woman. Also, you see in here the difficulty in being a “fatherly” figure when the person is suffering from a disorder that is contra-fatherly.

Please keep in mind that I am very new to the church, still waiting on confirmation. I don’t know the accepted terminology. If I say that the person is homosexual, it sounds like they are identifying as such. If I say that they struggle with ssa, it sounds like they are actually struggling to be celibate. I don’t mean either, because those would have their own problems. What I mean is someone whose only sexual attraction is to people of the same gender, but doesn’t have a problem with celibacy. It sounds from Marco Polo’s post that such people would not be allowed in the priesthood. Please don’t fault me for not having all of the facts, I was only stating as much as I had heard.

I used to be rather liberal, except when it comes to abortion, and I am just trying to figure out the church to which I have been called; the Roman Catholic church. I’m not asking to debate church policies, I’m just very new and I am trying to learn. So, thus far it sounds like diaconate yes, priesthood no?

As someone with SSA, I somehow feel slighted that the choice of celibacy for people with SSA is not seen as a renunciation. It was as though we can’t give anything up because we didn’t have something to give up from the beginning. The fact is it also takes a lot from us to accept that celibacy is the only path we may be presented.

Oh well. But maybe he is right.

For can a blind man offer up his sight, an amputee his legs, or the deaf his hearing?

If this is really my lot, then so be it. Let my offering not be the giving up of what I have but the acceptance of what I have not. Let it not be the huge donation of a rich man who renounced all his wealth but the contribution of that widow who gave from her poverty. Either way, the Lord will be pleased.

I truly feel for you but ( always that goat gets in butting away!) The issue surely as I have heard it explained, that if you identify yourself primarily and most by your sexual orientation then it is too deeply rooted to be accommodated in a celibate priesthood. If you sex drive is high, whatever your orientation, then will not the same apply?

Nor do I see celibacy as “giving up” anything. I know many fine religious who have chosen celibacy gladly. As they say it is not about sex but about being free for the world without family ties and obligations.

If it is seen as a sacrifice there are indeed dangers whatever the orientation. And your comparison with blindness etc is quite indicative of the real issue here.

That’s beautiful and shows real spiritual maturity in my view. Whatever vocation God is calling you to, please remember that ALL things work for the good of those love Him! :slight_smile:

there’s a status of consecrated virgin, which garners a good deal of public respect, by the way.

I was a bachelor for a long time, and I think there’s no shame in not being married, fwiw.

The idea is renunciation of a good for a greater good.

Renouncing sin is REQUIRED for everyone. Practicing the homosexual lifestyle is a sin, and has to be given up.

HOWEVER, you do know how to love, and THAT you can do!

So redirect that love from someone else, and give that love to God. You CAN do that and you NEED TO DO that!

So who cares if you don’t have “something to give up” - you have something to give…up (as in pointing upwards)

Love God!

There is no need to feel slighted, you got something to give!

Similarly, the religious vocations should not be seen as a fallback position for people, who for some reason or the other have failed to get married. The religious vocation is a positive call.

I don’t know who told you that, but it would be as much of a renunciation for any other single person.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I am under the assumption that:

  1. Transsexuals (surgery & hormones) would only qualify for a lay association, and the only possible form of commitment would be an oblation, unless they are permitted to become Dedicated Laity. Transgenders (gender identity is confused) would fall into this category, as well. With a transsexual, the DNA is still of the sex with which they were born.

  2. Those who are not making an attempt to bring their SSA under control would not qualify for the religious life. There is no “third lifestyle.”

  3. IMHO a secular institute would be a good place for persons with controlled SSA, if religious orders won’t accept them.

  4. The priesthood is completely off-limits to those who are openly SSA. I’ve heard that if the man can keep himself under control for three years he would be considered for the priesthood.

We are all called to emulate the angels – celibate love and service to God. Conjugal relations are for a narrow window of about a week between one man and one woman who are sacramentally married.

“Deny yourself; take up your cross; and follow Me,” says the Lord. In that case, the “deny yourself” would be the process of “aquitting” the SSA.


The document in question is the “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” with the key paragraph reading as follows:

In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”. Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women.

As previously discussed in this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=12512584

You may not be able to be a priest, but what about a deacon? A deacon is called to service and you receive Holy Orders. Once you are ordained a deacon, you cannot get married.

You can also become consecrated through a secular institute. Through a secular institute, you are consecrated and make vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but you live out the charism of the institute in world and not in a community. If you have same sex attraction and are attempting to be celibate, this is a good alternative because it removes temptation you may experience in a community life.

I know of one gay teacher from our public school system who became a deacon. “He doesn’t have a kitchen, but he has a Catholic chapel,” I was told.

I believe I suggested the secular institutes in an earlier post. One may have to be created for them.

A Camaldolese Oblate who was a converted gay died of AIDS. I have fielded vocational inquiries from those struggling with SSA. I know there is something that can be done to minister to their desires of belong to God while fighting this super struggle of theirs. Since Our Lady in her representation of Marie Mediatrice has a rainbow, I suggest they utilize the image and ask her help under that title.


I don’t think it’s true for ALL who experience SSA, that celibacy would not be a renunciation of one good for a greater good. The fact of the matter is, men were still made for women and, provided those with SSA have reason to believe they could still complete the marital act with a woman, they are as free to marry as any other man. I experience some degree of SSA, and I am discerning a vocation (and am applying to seminary now), but for me, celibacy is sure as heck going to be a renunciation! (But all for the greater glory of God!) Just because any given man has SSA does not mean he is incapable of having desires for a wife and a family, and to be a father. A man like this probably does not have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

Now, perhaps some who do experience SSA have the problem that an above poster mentioned - that they consider their SSA so much a part of their identity - i.e., they have “deep-seated homosexual tendencies”. And I think this is when they cannot be admitted to seminary, because they are so fully entrenched in their “homosexual” identity that their relationships with people are damaged and they would not be able to carry out priestly duties properly. These people would also probably not make good fathers and in most cases should not marry. I do think that many men in this situation can go from “deep-seated” to not deep-seated, provided they get the necessary help, and it would probably involve some sort of spiritual counseling/healing in addition to whatever else.

Thank you; I knew I had read that good reasoning.

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