by Beth Shapiro 365Gay.com New York Bureau
Posted: September 15, 2005 5:00 pm ET
(New York City) The Vatican has begun its investigation of America's 229 seminaries to root out gays.
The threat that the Catholic Church was embarking on a pogrom against gay clergy first arose last month when new regulations submitted to Pope Benedict for his approval suggested that gays not be considered for the priesthood. (story)
The Church is attempting to lay blame on gays for the child abuse scandal that has rocked Roman Catholicism. Vatican investigators arrived in the US this week to gauge the scale of the scandal and to determine how many gay priests are in the priesthood.
A document obtained by the New York Times shows the investigators will seek to have priests turn in suspected gays. The Times said it received the document from a priest "who was granted anonymity because he feared retribution".
It shows that the inquisitors will conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.
Among the questions all seminarians and teachers will be asked are: “Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?" and "Are there signs of particular friendships.” Both questions must be answered the document says.
Meanwhile, Pope Benedict continues to study the proposal for barring gays from entering the seminaries. But, archbishop Edwin O'Brien, the American cleric leading the investigation in an interview last week with a Catholic publication said that "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations,” should not be admitted to a seminary.
The Human Rights Campaign labeled the investigation a witch hunt.
“The real debate around this witch hunt isn’t between us and the Vatican, it’s between the Vatican and the truth,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “When the church makes gay men a scapegoat for pedophiles, it ignores one problem and creates another. It does nothing to keep children safe or punish criminals.”
**Yeesh. The Church sure has some 'unique' ideas on damage control. Don't they realize that if they root out gay priests they are essentially shooting themselves in the foot? The seminary IS gay. If they get rid of the gay priests, there will be no one left to spread the word of X!