A Vatican document expected to be made public soon says the Church will allow gay men who have lived chastely for three years to be candidates for the priesthood.
The document, which has been in the works for three years will update Vatican policy which up until now made clear that homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood.
A senior official with the Vatican, who requested anonymity because the document has not yet been released said the new policy will permit candidates who have lived a chaste life for at least three years before their admission to the seminary.
The Italian weekly Panorama said in its Friday editions that Pope Benedict XVI approved the document during the summer.
In a similar report Friday, the National Catholic Reporter said seminary officials will be asked to exercise "prudential judgment."
Vatican teaching holds that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered." The Church, however, says that homosexuals should be treated with compassion and dignity.
The issue has long been a subject of debate at the Vatican.
An American homosexual priest, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisal from church leaders, said if the reports are "it will be the first time that the church will have formally said that gay men have been and can be accepted by seminaries."