“In Strong Terms, Rome Is to Ban Gays as Priests.” That’s the front page headline in today’s New York Times . The headline and the story is a mix of fact and mendacity of a low order.

The long-awaited instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education, leaked a few days before its official release next Tuesday, is welcome for both its firmness and clarity in making necessary distinctions.

The Times is, in the words of its own public editor, a cheerleader for the cause of gay rights. In its reporting, as in the media more generally, the word “gay” is mandatory and is employed to lump together everything from adolescent sexual experimentation to occasional or deep-seated same-sex attractions to orgies at gay bath houses.

The new Vatican instruction is clearly aimed at countering what Archbishop Wilton Gregory, when president of the U.S. bishops conference, called the homosexualization of the priesthood that has turned many manly young men away from a priestly vocation.

During the years of the sex abuse crisis¯a crisis mainly occasioned by homosexual priests having sex with teenage boys¯I was famous (or infamous) for saying that it was all about three things: fidelity, fidelity, and fidelity. The story of the new instruction from Rome will likewise be about three things: implementation, implementation, and implementation.

There will be, as subscribers would expect, a more detailed examination of the instruction and its possible consequences in a forthcoming issue of FIRST THINGS.

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