Priest Backs Test As 'A Good Thing'

Weston Mercury
November 7, 2008 news&tBrand=westonmercury&tCategory=znews&itemid=WeED06%20Nov%202008%2015:56:41:593

A SENIOR catholic figure in Weston has spoken out in favour of psychological tests for new priests.

Vatican officials said last week there should be tests to screen candidates who may be unable to control their heterosexual urges and those with homosexual tendencies.

But Father Gabriel Leyden of Corpus Christi Church, in Ellenborough Park South, says the Vatican guidance, published in a document titled Congregation for Catholic Education last week, is nothing new and has been going on for years.

The 66-year-old, who was a former Clifton Diocese vocational director from 1975-8, where he used to help train new priests, said: "It has been going on for years here and I think it is definitely a good thing.

"It would be an interview with a psychologist who would then write a report for the necessary authorities, such as training seminaries.

"There are two sides to a vocation. The candidate offers himself and there is the call of the church.

"It is used so the wrong type of person doesn't slip through the net.

"While it is possible for people to get through sometimes, every effort is made to choose the right candidates and make sure they are applying for the right reasons.

"It is a healthy sign if people do not continue."

At the Vatican news conference last week, where the guidelines were announced, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, who was involved in their preparation, angered some gay rights groups when he reportedly said that homosexuality was 'a deviation, an irregularity and a wound'.

Father Gabriel is one of three Catholic priests in Weston and has been at Corpus Christi Church since 2000.

He added that priests train at seminaries for six years, studying scriptures and theology among other disciplines, which gives them time to mature and be assessed by the authorities.


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