'Radical Reform Needed to Root out Paedophiles in Seminaries'

By John Cooney
Irish Independent
November 15, 2008 paedophiles-in-seminaries-1540717.html

Plans by the Vatican to screen student priests may not succeed in detecting paedophiles unless the Catholic Church introduces radical reforms of its seminary system, a leading psychotherapist has warned.

Dr Marie Keenan, a lecturer at University College Dublin, has also called into question how existing psychological screening introduced in many of Ireland's 26 dioceses has not prevented child sexual abuse offending.

Earlier this month, the Vatican instructed the world's bishops to make seminarians undergo psychological evaluations, and to interrupt their training if they demonstrated grave immaturity.


"While not dismissing psychological screening altogether, the idea that psychological screening will reduce offending by clergy is built on an assumption that clergy who sexually abuse children are psychologically disturbed," Dr Keenan writes in the current issue of the 'Irish Catholic' newspaper.

According to Dr Keenan, this view is mistaken, yet it is an approach that is attractive to some conservative bishops who do not see the necessity for change in the institutional church.

Last night, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said that screening was in use for some years in many dioceses, and that it was always being improved.

However, he pointed out that studies showed offenders were hard to detect because they were very often "deviant and devious".


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