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New Start for Austrian Seminary

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 12, 2005

From The Tablet:

The St Pölten seminary, which was closed last August after it was revealed that a seminarian had been downloading child pornography on the internet and that several others had been active homosexuals, is to reopen under a new rector, Fr Anton Leichtfried, this September, Bishop Klaus Küng announced last week.

The selection criteria for seminarians at St Pölten would be very strict, Bishop Küng said. Particular care would be taken to make sure that candidates for the priesthood were heterosexually and not homosexually orientated, as celibacy meant forgoing marriage and therefore presupposed a heterosexual orientation. “It is with good reason that the Church insists that a definite homosexual orientation is an impediment to ordination. Dropping this practice could undermine celibacy and bring further grave dangers with it,” he said.

Could it, now?

In an interview with the German journal Tagespost, Bishop Küng, who is a member of Opus Dei, was asked how widespread the issue of homosexuality in seminaries was in German-speaking countries and whether there were homosexuals’ “networks as in the USA”. He replied: “That danger exists, at least in certain areas.” Asked whether it was true that bishops were divided on the subject of homosexuality, and that many thought it might be advantageous to allow homosexual men to be ordained, he said the question had come up occasionally at Austrian bishops’ conferences, but most bishops had been “very reserved” on the issue. “Experience has since confirmed that their reservation is justified,” he said.

A pretty diplomatic answer, not much clearer in the original, since "Zurückhaltung" (reservation) in this context can mean either coolness toward the idea of gays or reticence to show one's hand on the issue. Experience, most of us would allow, has definitely justified the former and definitely damned the latter. If there's to be a "new start" at all, the dithering must come to an end

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