The bishops' conference of Honduras has expressed “regret” that leaked information about a crisis of homosexuality in Tegucigalpa’s major seminary has given it a bad reputation.

In a statement issued July 29, it also denies any institutionalized promotion of practices that are contrary to the morality and norms of the Church. 

They did not deny allegations of homosexuality but instead noted “weeds in affective and sexual weakness, which affects us all and can generate attitudes and inappropriate behavior.” 

The bishops were responding to a July 25 Register article in which it was reported that nearly 50 seminarians had written a letter to bishops complaining of a homosexual network in Tegucigalpa’s major seminary, and which they said is protected by its rector. (See the full text of the letter and other documentation referred to in the article here).

The Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa is headed by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator of the C9 Group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on Church and Curia reform. 

The Register’s article drew on the contents of the seminarians’ letter, the existence of which was confirmed by a Honduran bishop. The seminarians wrote that they were encouraged by their spiritual advisers to write the letter and give it to the bishops as a plea that the homosexual activity among seminarians be stopped and that the bishops adopt stronger admittance practices for choosing seminarians.

The Register article quoted directly from one of the seminarians who had signed the letter, and referenced both a copy of a suicide note from a seminarian involved in a homosexual relationship with another seminarian, and graphic homosexual texts verified to have been exchanged between seminarians. 

Also contacted for the article were the offices of Cardinal Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran bishops’ conference and each of the country’s bishops. Only one of the bishops had replied to the Register’s queries at the time this article was published.

The bishops said they “regretted” the information in the article, adding what was reported “causes pain and scandal in those who supposedly it wants to defend.” 

The bishops added: “With all certainty and truth, we affirm that there does not exist, has not existed, nor should exist in the seminary an atmosphere such as the one presented in the news report at NCR [the Register] which gives the impression that institutionally there is the promotion and sustaining of practices opposed to the norms and morals of the Church under the complacent watch of the bishops.”

But the statement did not refer to or deny the contents of the seminarians’ letter, nor any of the other substantiated facts in the article. 

The Register stands by its reporting.

Elsewhere in their statement, the bishops said they are praying that priests increase their “selfless dedication to the service of the Gospel” so that “free, mature and fearless” vocations arise.  

They also asked “present and future seminarians” to “grow in confidence, authenticity and transparency with their bishops and formators,” and view “honestly in their communities and parishes the lights and shadows of the seminary.” 

The bishops also requested that all parishioners increase their prayers for the major seminary and avoid all kinds of speculation that ignores the respect for the dignity of bishops, seminarians, formators and all who seek to carry out God’s plan.

Bishops and seminarians are already engaged in a constructive dialogue, the statement added, and have enlisted the help of a bishop emeritus from their continent who has experience in the field of priestly formation.