Pope Francis has warned Italian bishops to be watchful of priesthood applicants suspected of having homosexual tendencies.

‘Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,’ the pope said, according to the Vatican Insider service of Italian newspaper La Stampa.

‘If in doubt, better not let them enter.’

The remarks were reportedly made at a closed-door gathering at the Vatican on Monday, opening the 71st general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference. The pontiff reportedly called for ‘careful discernment’ of seminary applicants, including caution about those with ‘deep seated tendencies’ or who ‘practise homosexual acts’. These tendencies could lead to scandal, compromising both the priest and the Church, he said.

The pope’s reported comments were confirmed by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, in a press conference yesterday, according to Catholic News Agency. They appear to affirm the traditional Catholic teaching that practising homosexuals should not be admitted to the priesthood.

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