Men and women studying to be priests or nuns should not be allowed to take their final vows if they cannot control their sexual urges, the Vatican said today.
"Those who do not seem to be able to overcome their homosexual tendencies or who maintain that it is possible to adopt a third way, living in an ambiguous state between celibacy and marriage must be dismissed from the religious life," it said.
The instruction was contained in a 70-page document written by the Vatican department in charge of religious life and approved by Pope John Paul II.
Cardinal Jerome Hamer, the department's head, evaded questions at a news conference on how widespread the problem of homosexuality was. "The problem is very clear. (Members of religious orders) are men and women who take a vow of chastity. We cannot accept that those entering the religious life are not able to respect this vow," he said.