Catholics Update Training Program to Toughen Sex Abuse Policy

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a new program for training seminarians that reflects the toughened policy of the church on clergy sex abuse.

The updated Program of Priestly Formation has a greater emphasis on the emotional and spiritual development of candidates for the Roman Catholic priesthood, including helping seminarians better prepare for a life of celibacy.

The program also spells out that applicants with any record of sexually abusing minors will be rejected. In addition, the 98-page document states that seminaries must follow the guidelines of the Holy See on applicants "with same-sex experiences and/or inclinations."

Last November, the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education issued a document designed to keep men with "deep-seated" same-sex attraction out of the priesthood.

The revised edition updates a 1992 program and has approval from the Vatican for five years.

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