Russian Orthodox Church Supports Vatican's Ban on Homosexuals in Seminaries

The Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement Friday supporting the Vatican's instruction to bar homosexual men from seminaries.

Father Igor Vyzanov, the Moscow Patriarchate's spokesman, told Interfax news that the Bible condemns homosexual acts that "do not leave any room for a different interpretation."

He also said that though the Russian Orthodox did not share the Catholic view of not ordaining married men, the Eastern Church and the Vatican "have a common approach to the problem of homosexuality."

In November, the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education ordered seminaries to bar candidates who "practice homosexuality," have "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies," or support "gay culture."

As far back as 1961, the Vatican had produced documents advising against sexually active gay clergy, including one calling homesexuality an "intrinsically disordered" condition that would make homosexuals ineligible for ordination.

Nonetheless, the recent document ordering the ban did not ask for the removal of gay men already serving as priest, and did not prohibit the ordination of all those admitting to same-sex attraction.

The statement said that men showing slight, correctable homosexual tendencies may be ordained as deacons, and could rise up to priesthood provided they remained celibate for three years.

Those with "deeply rooted" homosexuality, however, would find themselves "in a situation that presents a grave obstacle to a correct relationship with men and women," thus making them unfit for ordination even with proof of chastity, states the document.

Several Catholic priests have raised questions over the Roman Catholic Church's vague definition of "deeply rooted" homosexuality, claiming that homosexual priests who understand their own sexuality, and can lead celibate lives, would be unfairly barred.
Father Vyzanov, however, supported the November decision, saying that men with same-sex attraction should be seen as those who "suffer from a serious illness."

He added that he was appalled by the recent movement to revise biblical doctrine by ordaining gays, especially those found in a number of notable protestant communities.