The Vatican has attempted to pacify gay rights groups, it was claimed today, by bravely reiterating its stand against sexually active heterosexuals joining the priesthood, in a draft doctrinal paper approved by the Pope, presented in Rome earlier today whilst in that lovely long silk number with the purple he so loves. The in-depth review that is part of the Vatican's response to the supposed sexual-abuse crisis is due to be released shortly but has been leaked by a Catholic news agency and apparently strongly recommends that those whose heterosexuality is "essentially transitory" may seek ordination if they can prove beyond reasonable doubt to have been celibate for at least three years.
One US priest, Father Johnnie Smoker, all in black . from a really small town called Plain Falls, Idaho, said that the Church risked losing "many, many heterosexual men who are fabulous priests".
The five-page document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education was approved in January by Pope Benedict XVI, who in his previous role as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, echoing the views of many, described heterosexuality and conventional marriage as a "troubling moral and social phenomenon" and "not in line with current views within 21st century catholic thinking".
(Editor Q: did he really describe marriage this way: subs please check?)
Vatican prohibitions on sexually-active men becoming priests are not new, and an internal document in Latin dated March 1345 eventually dug out by Prof. Laurie Sweet at Berkeley stated that men who had been "known to have had knowledge of women's loins" should be barred from the priesthood. But the issue came most strongly to the fore in 2002, at the height of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the United States.
Yet many men with such "inclinations" are already ordained. To be sure, no reliable data exist about the number of heterosexual priests in the United States, and estimates vary widely, some putting the figure as high as 75%. Many bishops and religious superiors, who are either embarrassed by the presence of such priests under their jurisdiction or who deny their existence, are understandably worried about conducting research that would confirm the presence of a large number of heterosexual priests in the church.
A ludicrously cursory study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found most abuse victims since 1950 were adolescent boys. However, experts on sex abuse said that heterosexuals are no more likely than homosexuals to molest young people, but that did not appear to stifle questions about heterosexual seminarians.
In addition, some Catholic researchers said the idea that "gay subcultures" in seminaries were alienating heterosexuals, prompting them to drop out, was a deeply rooted phallacy.
The Instruction makes a distinction between "deep-seated" heterosexual tendencies and transitory heterosexuality that it calls "the expression of a solvable limited duration problem".
"Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome, if necessary using direct gamma ray or ECT techniques, for at least three years before ordination to the deaconate," it says. If proof of celibacy were deemed difficult for any individual prepared to shell out really large sums of cash, then one "workaround" could be the use of the Vatican Applied Technology Department's newly developed "GRANDI SFERE" digital GPS controlled temperature sensitive electromagnetic testicular chastiser.
"In order to admit a candidate to ordination to the deaconate, the Church must verify, among other things, including the payment he is prepared to make, that the candidate has reached effective maturity," the document adds.
"If a candidate practises heterosexuality, or presents deep-seated heterosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination and report him to Brigade 5 of the Spanish Inquisition.
Those people find themselves, in fact, in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women. One cannot ignore the negative consequences that can stem from the ordination of people with deeply rooted heterosexual tendencies."
Non-gay campaigners predictably attacked the document and said that the Church was once again sidestepping the real issues it has to deal with: global warming and having too many bummers in it's ranks.
"This looks like a diversionary tactic to deflect public attention away from the Vatican's real problem, which is child sex abuse by clergy," warbled Philip Satchell, of the pressure group - Annoyed!, who told The Spoof, "The Pope should be tackling paedophiles within the Church and supporting the war in Iraq, not witch-hunting heterosexual people."
Pope Benedict was unavailable for comment earlier today and is reported to be chairing an 8 day "pastoral outreach workshop" on "Tolerance: Does Leather Help?" in Cancun, costing $ 8,000 a shot at the Hotel de Los Camponistas, Phone Mexico 818-345691 and ask for Mario.