New Delhi: Pope Francis has been quoted in a soon-to-be-published book as saying that having gays in the clergy “is something that worries me” and remarking that some societies are considering homosexuality a “fashionable” lifestyle.
While he has previously spoken of the need for better screening of candidates for the religious life, his comments suggesting that priests who cannot keep their vows of celibacy should leave are some of his clearest to date.
Francis made the remarks in a book-length interview with Spanish priest Fernando Prado called The Strength of Vocation, in which he discusses the challenges of being a priest or nun today. It is due to be published this week in several languages.
“In our societies, it even seems homosexuality is fashionable. And this mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church,” Francis was quoted as telling his interviewer.
Pope Francis urges homosexual priests and nuns to be celibate, or leave
He urged homosexuals who are already priests or nuns to be celibate and responsible to avoid creating a scandal. “It is better that they leave the priesthood or the consecrated life rather than live a double life,” he said. The pope has warned Italian bishops in the past to vet seminarians closely and reject those they suspect might be gay.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said.
“The Strength of Vocation”, by Father Fernando Prado, is based on four hours of interviews with the pontiff on the challenges of being a member of the clergy. It will be published next week.