Here’s an editorial from the LA Times on the Vatican’s new directive on psychological screening of gay candidates for the priesthood. And before you object to the idea of a secular paper editorializing on church affairs, remember that were it not for The Boston Globe, the church would not have been forced to confront the sexual abuse crisis. And also that the church these days often feels free to opine on things secular, especially in the last few months.
More to the point, here’s the piece.
And a snip:
To be fair, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States -- including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles -- operates under its own guidelines for the screening of prospective priests, which can include consultations with psychologists. Although the U.S. policy professes to adhere to Vatican pronouncements (and was approved by the pope), it seems to adopt a narrower definition of "deep-seated" homosexual inclination, one that allows gays to be ordained as long as their sexual orientation doesn’t interfere with their ministry.
Yet even if the U.S. church is following a more compassionate policy than Vatican pronouncements would seem to authorize, the role of psychologists in screening applicants raises troubling ethical questions, as even psychologists who approve of such cooperation admit. Aiding the church in weeding out homosexuals is hard to reconcile with these guidelines of the American Psychological Assn.:
"Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices."
If the church -- or a diocese within the church -- takes the Vatican decree literally, it’s hard to see how a psychologist could lend his or her expertise to the thwarting of a young man’s aspiration to serve God simply because he happens to be gay. In our view, that’s not just cruel; it’s unprofessional. --LA Times
James Martin, SJ