By Kathleen Gilbert

VATICAN CITY, October 30, 2008 ( – The Vatican released a document Thursday outlining the psychological evaluation seminaries may use to screen candidates with homosexual tendencies as well as other psychological disorders from the priesthood.

The document entitled “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood,” released in several languages, was prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education and approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Grocholewski, speaking at Thursday’s press conference, said the fifteen-page document highlights “the socio-cultural context” that can psychologically damage seminarians, particularly in ways that could “condition their ability to progress along the formative path toward the priesthood.”

A Reuters article reports the document states, “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 urges early detection of psychological pathology in men that would help eliminate the possibility of future clergy abuse.

Homosexuality in particular has been implicated as a culprit in such scandals, as seminaries in previous decades failed to screen candidates exhibiting homosexual tendencies. John Jay College released a survey requested by the USCCB that showed 80-90% of abusive priests had sexual relations with adolescent boys (ephebophilia), not prepubescent boys (pedophilia).

Grocholewski confirmed that the psychological testing and evaluation is not to be mandatory, but available should a seminary rector deem it necessary to ensure a candidate’s eligibility.

According to the Catholic News Service (CNS), the document encourages the psychological sciences both to screen candidates with psychological pathologies, and to guide seminarians through their vocational journey, in particular helping those with “psychological wounds.” Grocholewski emphasized that lay psychologists themselves are not to interfere in the formation of the seminarian.

The document firmly holds the Vatican line affirming that homosexuality presents a psychological imbalance that must not be permitted in the Catholic priesthood.

“It is not enough to be sure that he is capable of abstaining from genital activity. It is also necessary to evaluate his sexual orientation, according to the indications published by this congregation,” says the document, according to CNS.

The guidelines follow up on the long-anticipated 2005 Vatican document forbidding priests who are actively homosexual, exhibit “deep rooted homosexual tendencies,” or support the “gay agenda.”

Many Church officials have rejected the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, claiming that the Church must not discriminate based on “sexual orientation.”

The Vatican document on homosexuality and the priesthood condemned these objections, stating clearly that homosexual individuals suffer a perversion of natural relationships with both sexes.

“Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women,” said the document. “One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”

See related articles:

Homosexuals Not Permitted in Any Seminaries, Reaffirms Vatican

Ban on Homosexual Men From Priesthood Was Always in Place – Decision from 810 A.D. Cited

Catholic Schism Being Revealed as Homosexual Priest Document Readies for Release