These comments were just released from a book-length interview to be published next week, by Religion Digital.
A clear and courageous book, in which Francis does not avoid any question. Not even the controversial issue of homosexuality in the Church, which Religion Digital advances exclusively. Are there limits that should not be tolerated in training? Evidently.
When there are candidates with neurosis and strong imbalances, difficult to channel or with therapeutic help, we must not accept them neither to the priesthood nor to the consecrated life. You have to help them to go to another place, do not abandon them. We must orient them, but we must not admit them. Let us always bear in mind that they are people who will live in the service of the Church, of the Christian community, of the people of God. Let's not forget that horizon.
We must take care that they are psychologically and affectively healthy. It is not a secret that in the consecrated life and in the clergy there are also people with homosexual tendencies. What to say about this? It's something that worries me, because maybe in a moment it did not focus well. In the line of what we are talking about, I would say that we have to take great care in forming human and affective maturity.
We have to discern with seriousness and listen to the voice of the experience that the Church also has. When discernment is not taken care of in all this, the problems grow. As I said before, it happens that at the moment maybe they do not show their faces, but later they appear.
The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be properly discerned from the beginning with the candidates, if that is the case. We have to be demanding. In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the Church. I had a somewhat scandalized bishop here who told me that he had learned that in his diocese, a very large diocese, there were several homosexual priests and that he had to face all this, intervening, first of all, in the formation, to form another distinct clergy. It is a reality that we can not deny. In the consecrated life there have been no cases.
A religious told me that, from a canonical visit to one of the provinces of his congregation, he had been surprised. He saw that there were good student boys and that even some religious already professed were gay. He himself doubted the question and asked me if there was something wrong with it. "In short," he was saying, "it's not that serious; it is just an expression of an affection ».
This is a mistake. It is not just an expression of affection. In the consecrated life and in the priestly life, that kind of affections have no place. For this reason, the Church recommends that people with this ingrained tendency not be accepted into the ministry or the consecrated life. Ministry or consecrated life is not your place. To the priests, religious men and women homosexuals, we must urge them to live fully celibacy and, above all, to be exquisitely responsible, trying not to scandalize neither their communities nor the holy faithful people of God living a double life.
It is better that they leave the ministry or their consecrated life rather than live a double life....