Friday, November 25, 2005

Bishop V. Gene Robinson criticizes Vatican

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From Reuters: Anglican bishop criticizes Vatican over gays By Daniel Frykholm Thu Nov 24, 1:42 PM ET STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Gay U.S. Anglican bishop Gene Robinson said on Thursday a Vatican document barring practicing gay men from becoming Roman Catholic priests showed a profound misunderstanding of homosexuality. The document, due to be published next week, says men with "deep-seated" gay tendencies cannot become priests and that only those who have overcome their homosexuality at least three years before ordination can do so. "I think the Vatican, or whoever wrote this statement, should spend a little more time listening to its gay and lesbian members rather than putting out statements," said Robinson, having read media reports on the document. "This strikes me as language from people who profoundly do not understand gay and lesbian people ... who know next to nothing about being gay or lesbian," Robinson, whose ordination as bishop in 2003 plunged the Anglican Church into crisis. The document reinforces existing Roman Catholic policy that many in the Church believe has not been properly enforced, but Robinson told Reuters during a visit to Stockholm it would only force people to lie about their sexual orientation. "It's very clear here that if you want to be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and you know you're gay, you have to lie about it," he said. DEEP DIVISIONS Robinson was the first openly gay man to be ordained as a bishop in the U.S. Episcopal church, sparking deepening divisions among the world's 77 million Anglicans. Earlier this month, almost half the world's Anglican archbishops demanded action from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams over "unrepented sexual immorality" in the church. Williams has always been personally tolerant of gay clergy. Robinson said there were probably many Roman Catholics like himself. "There are plenty of gay men who have faithfully served the Roman Catholic Church, who know themselves to be gay and who are faithful to their vow of celibacy. To exclude them from the ordained ministry is a real mistake," he said. "It appears that being celibate is not good enough." The document, parts of which were read to Reuters by a Vatican prelate on Tuesday, differentiates between "deep-seated" gay tendencies and a "transitory problem," but also says homosexuals cannot relate "correctly to men and women." "That's offensive to me, and this language just strikes me as profoundly separated from the real lives of gay and lesbian men and women that I know," said Robinson. During his visit to Stockholm, Robinson met leaders of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which allows gay clergy and recently decided to hold formal blessing ceremonies for registered same-sex partnerships. Original source