- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2002

VATICAN CITY (AP) The ordination of homosexual men into the priesthood is "imprudent" and "very risky," according to a letter written by a top Vatican official.
The views of Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez are likely to fuel the debate about homosexuals in the priesthood a perennial issue gaining renewed attention after the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the United States and elsewhere.
Cardinal Medina Estevez, the recently retired prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, offered his thoughts about the ordination of homosexuals in a letter published in the congregation's magazine, Notitiae.
Ordination "of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent, and from the pastoral point of view, very risky," he wrote.
"A homosexual person or someone with homosexual tendencies is not, therefore, suitable to receive the sacrament of holy orders," he said in the letter to an unidentified cleric dated May 16 and published in the magazine's November-December editions.
Cardinal Medina Estevez retired as prefect in October.
The Vatican is drafting guidelines for accepting candidates for the priesthood that are expected to address the issue of ordaining homosexuals.
The document under preparation by the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education is not expected before next year.
Recent news reports in Italy and the United States have said that initial drafts of the guidelines recommend that seminaries bar men with homosexual tendencies.
The issue has gained attention after accusations in the United States that priests molested children, and that church leaders tried to cover it up by moving known abusers from parish to parish.

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