VATICAN CITY - The Vatican published its long-awaited document on gays in the clergy Tuesday, saying men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies should not be ordained but those with a "transitory problem" could be if they had overcome them for three years.
Some observers also have raised questions about exactly what the document means by a "deep-seated homosexual tendency," since a definition isn't provided.
The head of the education congregation defended the document as a clear reflection of church teaching, saying "in this field, in today's world, there is some confusion."
"Many defend the position according to which the homosexual condition is a normal condition for the human being, as if it were nearly a third gender," Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski told Vatican Radio.
He also made clear the Instruction is intended for candidates for the priesthood and not someone who "discovers his homosexuality after having been ordained."
The cardinal said such a priest "has to try to live in chastity ... maybe he will need more spirtual support than others, but I think he should be a priest in the best way possible."
The document restates church teaching that deep-seated homosexual tendencies are "objectively disordered" but that gays should be treated with respect and shouldn't be discriminated against.
"In light of such teaching ... the church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture,'" it says.
Such men can't be priests because they are in a situation that "gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women," it says.
But it distinguishes such men from others with homosexual tendencies "that were only the expression of a transitory problem — for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded."
Oh, now I get it, but I do have one question: What if they just like to fuck?