Vatican proposes tests to screen out homosexuals

CANDIDATES for the Catholic priesthood should undergo psychological tests to screen out heterosexuals unable to control their sexual urges and men with strong homosexual tendencies, the Vatican said.

In a document — the second in three years to deal with the effects of a sexual abuse scandal that was first uncovered in the US in 2002 and then spread throughout the world involved mostly abuse of teenage boys by priests — the Vatican said the early detection of “sometimes pathological” psychological defects in men before they become priests would help avoid tragic consequences.

“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 Congregation for Catholic Education.

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. At a news conference, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, head of the Vatican department that prepared the document, was asked why a man with deep-seated homosexual tendencies could not become a priest while one with deep-seated heterosexual tendencies could.

He said homosexuality was “a deviation, an irregularity and a wound” that did not allow priests to carry out their mission properly.

SNAP, a US-based group of victims of sexual abuse, said the document did not go far enough.

Gay groups have accused the Church of using homosexuals as scapegoats for the abuse scandals.


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