The Vatican has drafted new guidelines to reaffirm policy on paedophelia and keeping child molesters and "supporters of paedophile culture" out of the priesthood.
Men who experience a short-lived phase of paedophelia may join a seminary if they have overcome such tendencies for at least three years, the draft says. They must however "promise" never to engage in such activity again.
For added security, the Pope is insisting that as well as making this promise the aspiring priest must also "cross his heart and hope to die". There will also be "truth-monitors" present at all future ordination ceremonies to ensure the clerical applicant is not crossing his fingers or blinking rapidly (or in rare cases - nasal elongation) as they promise never to molest kids ever again.
The document, due to be released next week, has been published online by an Italian Catholic news web site, Adista. The new guidelines were prompted by a 2002 sex abuse scandal among US clergy.
"or in rare cases - nasal elongation"
The draft makes no reference to current priests (presumably they are free to go on abusing), but only to those about to join a seminary. A church official who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the authenticity of the document to AP news agency.
Critics have already voiced concerns claiming that paedophile seminarians might feel they have little choice but to lie about their sexual orientation. Many view it as further evidence of the current Pope's tendency towards hardline conservatism.
Vatican Spokesman hit back arguing, "Despite our obvious distaste for their sexual proclivities, we at the Vativcan consider paedophiles among the most trustworthy members of society. We fully expect, therefore, for all of them to own up to their shameful secret before before ordination".
"further evidence of the current Pope's tendency towards hardline conservatism".
"I can't believe we didn't think of asking them at this early stage before", he added.
Others say the new rules might lead to a dramatic drop in the number of vocations, especially in countries like the USA, where more than 25% of Catholic priests are believed to be non-practising paedophiles, content to get off on internet child porn.
The five-page document, drafted by the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education and approved by Pope Benedict on 31 August, describes paedophile acts as "grave sins" that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
"If a candidate practises paedophelia, or presents deep-seated paedophile tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination," it says.
Paedophiles had already been barred from priesthood in a 1961 document.
The current guidelines are the outcome of a review ordered by Pope John Paul II in the wake of the highly-damaging abuse scandals in the USA, in which several men accused priests of having abused them as teenagers.