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Vatican to inspect seminaries in fall

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2004

ROME (AP) - The long-awaited Vatican inspection of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries, which was planned in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis, is expected to begin in the fall of next year, according to Catholic News Service.

The Vatican will soon publish a three-page questionnaire that will serve as a guide for the visits to more than 100 seminaries and other American institutions that help prepare men for the priesthood, CNS said.

Bishop John Nienstedt of New Ulm, Minn., chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Priestly Formation, said that the issue of homosexuality is expected to be part of the review.

The visitation will take up the question of ''how seminaries approach celibacy and chastity - either in relationship to heterosexuality or homosexuality - or the temptations or inclinations people have,'' Nienstedt said.

Some Catholics complain that the priesthood has become overwhelmingly gay, potentially alienating heterosexuals from enrolling in seminaries. Others say the sexual identity of priests is irrelevant, as long as they keep their vows of celibacy.



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