Catholic World News News Feature

Vatican seminary document officially released November 29, 2005

The Vatican today officially released an Instruction barring the admission of homosexual men into priestly training.

The Vatican document, which has been the subject of intense controversy for several weeks, had been made public last week by an Italian internet site. The official release of the 9-page text on November 29 was done quietly, in tacit recognition that the document was already widely available.

CWN reported on the content of the Vatican document in a November 22 story, and has offered an unofficial translation of the full text.

Vatican officials did not hold a press conference to introduce the Instruction. Instead the full text was released by the Vatican press office; it will also be published in the November 30 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

The Instruction, which is the product of more than a decade of deliberation, was approved by Pope Benedict XVI on August 31. It was signed on November 4, the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminaries, by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Michael Miller-- the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation for Catholic Education. The document, prepared at the request of Pope John Paul II, is the first Instruction issued by the Vatican during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.

The formal release of the Instruction ends weeks of speculation, anticipation, and predictions about the Vatican's statement. The essential message of the document, indicating that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries, has been reported by the Roman news agency I Media in mid-September, and relayed to English-speaking readers by a CWNews report on September 22.

Early in November, a spate of news stories appeared in the Italian media, offering excerpts from the document. The full text had been circulated to leaders of the Roman Curia on November 9, and soon thereafter portions of the text appeared in the Italian dailies Il Giornale and L'Indipendente. On November 22, the Adista press agency posted the full text of the document on its web site, ending all speculation.