A few years ago the book, Goodbye, Good Men, stunned the Catholic world by letting everyone in on a secret that priests and seminarians already knew: many Catholic seminaries were “pink palaces,” recruiting grounds for a homosexual network. Faculty were involved with each other and with their students; students preyed upon weaker students. You survived seminary, and entered the priesthood, by joining or by staying silent. Those who protested were often forced out for being “rigid.”
In the wake of the sexual abuse scandal (and more stories of cover up), the Vatican vowed an investigation of seminaries. NCR reports on the outcome; the Vatican says the problem has been overcome at diocesan run seminaries. Seminaries run by religious orders still have some problems.
The church investigators “were obliged to point out the difficulties, in the area of morality, that some seminaries had suffered in the past decades,” the report says. “Usually, but not exclusively, this meant homosexual behavior.”
The report then says that “in almost all the institutes where such problems existed, the appointment of better superiors (especially rectors) has ensured that such difficulties have been overcome.”
But in schools run by religious orders, which operate largely out of the control of U.S. bishops, “ambiguity vis-à-vis homosexuality persists,” the investigators reported.
“Laxity of discipline,” unmonitored off-campus trips and use of the Internet were additional concerns, according to the report.
In addition, the declining number of applicants for the priesthood poses a problem, the reviewers said. “Clearly, in some places, lack of vocations has caused some lowering of standards. Such a strategy risks possible wretched consequences.”