Candidates for the psychological tests to screen out heterosexuals unable to control their sexual urges and men with strong homosexual tendencies, the Vatican said on Thursday.should undergo
In a new document — the second in three years to deal with the effects of a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Church six years ago — the Vatican said the early detection of “sometimes pathological” psychological defects in men before they become priests would help avoid tragic consequences.
By Philip Pullella, Reuters
Seminary rectors and other officials should use outside experts if they cannot handle the screening themselves, it said.
“The Church … has a duty of discerning a vocation and the suitability of candidates for the priestly ministry,” said the document from the Vatican’s.
“The priestly ministry … requires certain abilities as well as moral and theological virtues, which are supported by a human and psychic — and particularly affective — equilibrium, so as to allow the subject to be adequately predisposed for giving of himself in the celibate life,” it said.
Vatican officials told a news conference the tests would not be obligatory but decided on a case-by-case basis when seminary rectors wanted to be sure a man was qualified for the priesthood.
The testing by a psychologist or psychotherapist should aim to detect “grave immaturity” and imbalances in the candidates’ personality.
“Such areas of immaturity would include strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated homosexual tendencies, etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation will have to be interrupted,” the document said.