VATICAN CITY - Candidates for the Catholic priesthood should undergo psychological tests to screen out heterosexuals unable to control their sexual urges and those with strong homosexual tendencies, the Vatican said yesterdayday.
A new document was the second in three years to deal with the effects of a sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church six years ago. It said the early detection of "sometimes pathological" psychological defects of men before they become priests would help avoid tragic experiences.
"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. - Reuters