The Honduran bishops’ conference on Monday denied there exists a homosexual culture at the national seminary, as suggested by a recent report from the National Catholic Register.

“With complete certainty and truth, we affirm there does not exist, nor has there existed, nor ought there exist in the seminary an atmosphere as presented by the aforementioned National Catholic Register report, in which the impression is given that [the seminary] institutionally promotes and sustains practices contrary to morality and the norms of the Church, viewed with complacency by the bishops,” the bishops’ conference stated.

In “Honduran Seminarians Allege Widespread Homosexual Misconduct”, published July 25 in the National Catholic Register, Edward Pentin reported on an anonymous letter written by 48 of the 180 students at the Our Lady of Suyapa Major Seminary.

In the letter, the seminarians say that “we are living and going through a time of tension in our house, due to gravely immoral situations, especially an active homosexuality within the seminary which has been a taboo during all this time.”

They also stated that by “covering it up,” the problem has gained strength, becoming, as a priest said not long ago, an “epidemic in the seminary.”

The seminarians’ letter was supposedly submitted to scrutiny at the plenary assembly of the Honduran bishops’ conference in June this year.

According to Pentin’s sources, when the document was read before the bishops, Cardinal Óscar Andres Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa (who coordinates the group of cardinals assisting Pope Francis in his reform of the Roman Curia), along with Bishop Angel Garachana Perez of San Pedro Sula, president of the bishops’ conference, criticized the authors of the letter.

In their July 30 statement, the Honduran bishops lamented that these news reports may have “disturbed” the People of God.

The bishops’ conference explained that Our Lady of Suyapa Major Seminary is “an inter-diocesan institution which, although it is located in in the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, it is at the service of the formation of candidates to the priesthood from all the dioceses of Honduras, with the exception of the Diocese of Comayagua.”

“The bishops, who are ultimately responsible for the formation of our seminarians, entrusted in 1997 the immediate task (of their formation) to the Congregation of Jesus and Mary (the Eudists) of the Colombian Province, and in recent years they have been joined by Honduran diocesan priests.”

“In the academic formation of the seminarians,” they said, “a significant number of professors including the Cardinal (Rodríguez Maradiaga), priests, nuns and lay people are involved. And, ultimately, each one of the bishops of the Honduran Bishops’ Conference is responsible for the formation, financial support and monitoring the human, spiritual and pastoral growth of the seminarians of our own dioceses.”

The bishops thanked God because “the enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication of so many people at the major seminary, in each one of the dioceses and parishes are bearing abundant fruit.”

However, they noted that it does not surprise them that “in the midst of that fruit weeds would appear.”

For the Honduran bishops “it is evident that there are weeds and evil, especially, in making ‘anonymous’ reports;’ in airing them, mixing in facts, suspicions and interpretations; while ignoring the monitoring given to the challenges that arise.”

“There are weeds in sexual and affective weakness, which affects all of us and can creates inappropriate attitudes and behaviors. There are weeds in sterile pessimism, in spiritual worldliness, in the search of forms of power, human glories or financial well being,” they added.

The bishops acknowledged “that these temptations affect us and that we fall into them. But we equally recognize that the power of God is manifested in our weakness.”

Finally, they said, “we ask everyone to increase your prayers for our Major Seminary and avoid any kind of speculation which fails to respect the dignity of bishops, seminarians, the formators, and that of all of us who with limitations and failings seek to carry out the Lord’s work.”

Full story at Angelus News.