Vatican issues screening guidelines for priests

The Vatican issues Screening guidelines for priests, but they failed to issue guidelines to screen out Bishops and other deniers of the Sexual Abuse Scandal.

I guess it is one painfully inadequate step at a time for the leadership of the Catholic Church.

AP – Three priests cross St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, in this Oct. 18, 2002 file photo. (AP Photo/Luciano Vatican issues screening guidelines for priests

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican issued new psychological screening guidelines for seminarians Thursday — the latest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to be more selective about its priesthood candidates following a series of sex abuse scandals.

The church said it issued the new guidelines to help church leaders weed out candidates with “psychopathic disturbances.” The scandals have rocked the church in recent years, triggering lawsuits that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

“(The guidelines) became ever more urgent because of the sexual scandals,” Monsignor Jean-Louis Brugues told reporters. He stressed, however, that psychological testing was used in some seminaries as far back as the 1960s — or at least a decade before the sexual abuse scandals exploded in public.

“In all too many cases, psychological defects, sometimes of a pathological kind, reveal themselves only after ordination to the priesthood,” the guidelines said. “Detecting defects earlier would help avoid many tragic experiences.”

The guidelines said problems like “confused or not yet well-defined” sexual identities need to be addressed.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the Vatican needs to go beyond screening seminarians to end what the group calls the church’s “virtually unchanged culture of secrecy and unchecked power in the hierarchy” that left dangerous priests in parishes.

“Every barrel will always have some bad apples,” the Survivors Network said. “Real change requires effectively reforming the barrel and those who oversee it.”

Vatican officials conducted an evaluation of U.S. Roman Catholic seminaries in response to the abuse crisis to look for anything that contributed to the scandal. The evaluation was completed in July of 2006, but the results have not been made public.

The bishops and seminary staff who conducted the onsite reviews gave special attention to what seminarians are taught about chastity and celibacy. The Vatican also directed the evaluators to look for “evidence of homosexuality” in the schools.

Studies commissioned by the bishops’ conference have found that the majority of known victims of abuse by priests in the last 50 years were adolescent boys. In response, some Catholics have blamed gay clergy for the scandal; experts on sex offenders contend homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to molest children.

A 2005 Vatican document said men with “deep-seated” homosexual tendencies shouldn’t be ordained, but that those with a “transitory problem” could become priests if they had overcome them for three years. The Vatican considers homosexual activity sinful.

The new guidelines reflect the earlier teaching, stressing that if a future priest shows “deep-seated homosexual tendencies,” his seminary training “would have to be interrupted.”

The guideline say priests must have a “positive and stable sense of one’s masculine identity” and the capacity to “integrate his sexuality in accordance” with the obligation of celibacy.

The church is struggling to provide enough priests for parishes in many parts of the West because of waning vocations. But Pope Benedict XVI has said it is more important to have good priests than a greater number of priests.<br>
Original Story from Yahoo News

2 thoughts on “Vatican issues screening guidelines for priests”

  1. This is a nice blog, the only way that change can happen is if we don’t stay quiet.

    But I think that a most abusers have the cunning to enable them to pass the screening.

    Even with married clergy you’d get child abuse, until you get married clergy, female clergy and even female bishops you won’t see much change.

    The church has to return to its early roots, but the power of papal precident may make it impossible for anyone within the church to be able to make any change.

    When the local cardinal was apologizing I got the feeling like he doesn’t have much power to make an apology.

    Now he’s oked awards for two known abusers, so the wheels of abuse appear to continue to spin.

    Now maybe they’re too afraid to currently abuse, or maybe not, but the very structure of the church forces lay people to have to take whatever they get, its not a democracy, so abuse is pretty much endemic to patriarcal, authoritarian institutions, whether its the RC Church or the virulent form of Islam that leads a young girl reporting rape to be stoned to death in the town square.

    In such an absolute hierarchy abuse will occur as cliques of elite deviants ultimately chew their way to the top.

  2. Steve and I invested thousands of hours evaluating church sex offenders and studying church sexual abuse research.

    Screenings students before they attend seminary will not prevent sexual abuse. There are no identifiable profiles of sex offenders or tests to assess if someone has a tendency to be a sex offender.

    You can protect kids in churches by dealing directly with non-convicted or registered sex offenders in churches.

    There is a reason for the many children being sexually abused at churches. There are 5-6 million non-convicted sex offenders in the USA and 600,000 registered sex offenders.

    The question congregations want to know is how many of these offenders attend church?

    There are more sex offenders attending churches than churches. One sixth of the non-convicted and 1/5th of the registered sex offenders attend church.

    Note: Our study of research is very conservative compared to our peers in the sex offender management field who estimate 33%-50% offenders attend church.

    Why are there so many offenders attending churches?

    Sex offenders are not always offending. In fact, offenders are pre-occupied at trying to quit their sin before they get arrested. Many offenders are attracted to churches because of the redemption and spiritual help. Most offenders are church members or staff living a double life. The double life consists of periods of time being spiritual and other times preying on kids.

    Churches attempt to police themselves, but with very little success because of their lack of experience dealing with hidden offenders. It takes outside accountability from a ministry with experts at managing church offenders.

    Steve and I co-founded an expert-led ministry protecting kids from church sexual abuse. Keeping Kids Safe has been successful at protecting kids. This ministry deals directly with hidden offenders, provides safety standards for churches, and accountability for church leaders to protect kids in their congregation.

    It is reality that offenders will continue to be attending churches. If a church chooses to ignore the hidden offenders in their church, children will be harmed.

    We can help! Call Greg at 631-5075 or visit or website

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