Pope Francis is "concerned" about what he described as the "serious issue" of homosexuality, saying in an interview published Saturday that being gay was a "fashion" to which the clergy is susceptible.
"The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates," the pontiff said with regards to would-be priests.
"In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," he says in the book ‘The Strength of a Vocation’, released in Italy on Saturday.
"This is something I am concerned about, because perhaps at one time it did not receive much attention," he said in the book, a transcript of an interview which will be released in ten languages.
The Roman Catholic Church’s position is that homosexual acts are sinful and the pontiff’s stance on homosexuality in the clergy is not new.
A decree on training for Roman Catholic priests in 2016 stressed the obligation of sexual abstinence, as well as barring gays and those who support "gay culture" from holy orders.
The barring of people who present homosexual tendencies was first stipulated by the Catholic Church in 2005.
"It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out," Francis said.
"In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the Church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life.
"The ministry or the consecrated life is not his place," the Argentine added.
Gay clergy were urged to be "impeccably responsible" in a warning over bad behaviour that was notable for its silence on heterosexual clergy who break their vow of celibacy.