ACCESS OUR E-PAPER AND FIVE YEARS OF ARCHIVES FOR JUST £38 A YEAR
ROBERT GRAY ASKS IF WE’VE FORGOTTEN THE GREAT ARCHBISHOP PAGE 8
Vatican backs psychological screening of seminarians
November 7, 2008 £1 (Republic of Ireland €1.50)
Great minds meet at Vatican conference on evolution
THEVATICAN has approved the psychological screening of seminarians in the wake of damaging clerical abuse scandals. In a long-awaited document the Congregation for Catholic Education said seminary candidates should undergo psychological evaluations whenever there is a suspicion of personality disturbances or serious doubts about their ability to live a celibate life. The document, entitled Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood , also controversially endorsed tests to root out men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from seminaries. The statement echoed the language of a 2005 document which said candidates with deep-seated homosexual tendencies could not become seminarians. The new document covered the use of psychology as a tool for vocational discernment as well as the Church’s responsibility to ensure that candidates are suitable for the priesthood. The document also touched on the role of formators and bishops in identifying and orienting candidates toward a solid psychological and spiritual maturity. The document, which is not yet available in English, said: “Any man who feels a vocation to the priesthood must not only have moral and theological virtues but should also have a
solid human and psychic balance, particularly in the affective realm, such that permits the subject to be adequately predisposed to a truly free gift of himself in relationships with the faithful, according to the celibate life.” Candidates also must have “a positive and stable sense of their own masculine identity and a capacity to form mature relationships with other people or groups of people; a solid sense of belonging, base of the future communion with the presbyterate and of a responsible collaboration with the bishop’s ministry”. The document recommended the use of psychological tests as long as the candidate gives his consent and with the proviso that those responsible for formation do not use techniques outside their area of knowledge. Psychologists who give such support should have “solid human and spiritual maturity”, and a “Christian concept of the human person, sexuality, the priestly vocation and celibacy”. Candidates for the priesthood in England and Wales have undergone psychological tests for years, though screening differs from diocese to diocese. Fr Gerard Byrne, who runs St Luke’s Centre in Manchester, which has screened and tested some 250 candidates for the priesthood, religious life and the permanent diaconate since its foundation in 2005, welcomed the document. He said: “As far as I’ve seen it reported the new document
looks like it is consolidating all the things we already do and we see it as quite positive that everything the bishops are doing in terms of the vetting, screening and testing of candidates is in line with the Vatican’s thinking on this.” St Luke’s uses a team of psychologists and spiritual directors. Candidates take part in face-to-face interviews, psychometric tests and background testing based on questionnaires. This gives those responsible for the formation an overall psychological portrait and helps them to identify any major psychological and behavioural problems. Fr Byrne said: “We give robust broad-based assessments and also give advice on what to recommend in terms of human development as priests, permanent deacons or religious.” He added: “From the anonymous assessment forms that are filled out by the candidates we know the general response to our testing. The candidates recognise the need and like the Catholic but professional manner in which we do it at St Luke’s Centre.” The use of psychological screening is controversial in the Church. Critics argue that the use of psychology can undermine Church teaching and injure the candidate’s religious life. Another disputed question is whether the document permits celibate men with Continued on Page 3
Editorial comment: Page 11
Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking attracts the attention of Pope Benedict XVI during a Vatican conference on evolution Photo:PA
POPEBENEDICT XVI met Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking last week at a Vatican conference on evolution which brought together some of the world’s leading theologians and scientists. Both the Pope and the worldrenowned cosmologist were star speakers at the five-day conference, which was organised by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Benedict XVI said in his address that there was no conflict between
faith’s understanding of creation and the evidence of science. “In order to develop and evolve, the world must first be, and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created,” the Pope said. But God’s work in creating matter and life out of nothing did not end there, he said. The Creator founded the cosmos and its developments and “supports them, underpins them and sustains them continually”. Benedict XVI said that creation was not just the starting point of life
but “the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming”. The Church teaches “every spiritual soul is created immediately by God –it is not produced by the parents –and also that it is immortal,” he said, quoting the Catechism. Benedict argued that science has helped deepen the Church’s understanding that humanity has a unique and distinctive place in the cosmos. Only the person, a spiritual being,
has a hunger and capacity for God, he said. He said the evolution of life and the world “resembles an ordered book”. Looking at nature as a book that can be read is an image that has its roots in Christianity, he said, adding that “Galileo saw nature as a book whose author is God”. Dr Hawking is a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Science. He was appointed in 1986 by Pope John Paul II. The Pontifical Academy was founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI.
FIT FOR MISSION?
£8.95 Fit for Mission? Church [Expanded Edition] by Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue. A4 size paperback 104 pages ISBN 978 1 86082 543 9
Read the document they’re all talking about. As featured in the Catholic Herald.
Discover more new titles from CTS at www.cts-online.org.uk
Buy from the CTS website, return this form, or call 020 7640 0042
[quantity] . . . . . . . Fit for Mission? Church [Do795] @ £8.95
You might also like to read the following:
[quantity] . . . . . . . Fit for Mission? Schools [Do779] @ £6.95 Asserts the value of Catholic schools and outlines best practice.
Please add UK postage by order value: up to £10.00, add £2.00; up to £15.00, add £3.00; up to £20.00, add £4.00; up to £25.00, add £5.00; up to £30.00, add £6.00; over £30.00, add £7.00. Cheques payable to “Catholic Truth Society”. Tick here if you don’t want us to send you CTS’s free catalogue.
Address inc postcode: ..............................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................................
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tel: ..................................
CTS – Catholic Truth Society 40-46 Harleyford Rd, London SE11 5AY firstname.lastname@example.org www.cts-online.org.uk
CH 2008 10
No more loafing at the Vatican as timecards return after 40 years
THE VATICAN is clamping down on work-shy priests and employees by introducing clocking-on cards. The tiny city state has given timecards to all employees from office clerks to heads of departments including priests. But bishops and cardinals will be exempt for now. The introduction of the timecards follows a clampdown across Italy by Renato Brunetta, Minister for Public
Administration, against what are known as fannulloni , or loafers. For years civil servants in Italy have all too often put their feet up and read La Gazzetta dello Sport , nipped out to go shopping or spent some time with their lover while colleagues covered for them. The oldest ruse was leaving a jacket on the back of a chair and getting a colleague to tell the boss the missing employee had just “popped to the bathroom’’. Vatican insiders say time
cards would also be used as an “efficiency study” to clock the productivity of employees. They will also be used next year as a study on performance-related pay. Timecards were used until the Sixties but then abolished under Blessed Pope John XXIII because he considered them obsolete and “undignifying’’. A Vatican source said: “On the whole they have been generally accepted but some of
the older employees who were around in the Sixties when they were abolished have been complaining. Some even joked it was a typical Germanic attempt at efficiency. “But the idea has nothing to do with Pope Benedict although he would have been informed.” The Vatican has a workforce of 2,748 which is made up of 1,637 lay people, 778 priests, 243 brothers and 90 nuns who are paid salaries.
Archbishop Marx writes Das Kapital
Catholic school pays tribute to Hamilton
ARCHBISHOP Reinhard Marx of Munich has written a book named after the groundbreaking work by his 19thcentury namesake. During the launch of the book, Das Kapital: A Plea for Man , the archbishop said the financial crisis required a “fundamental social debate” and raised questions about the capacity of contemporary economies to “ensure the welfare of the world”.
Archbishop Marx said he had been “provoked into a detailed observation” of Marx by sharing the same surname, but said readers should not expect a defence of Marxism. “Catholic social teaching sees Karl Marx as a great opponent,” said Archbishop Marx, head of the committee for social issues of Germany’s bishops’ conference. But we have to show an interest in him, so as not to re-embark on the same mistaken path which had terrible consequences in the 20th century.” Archbishop Marx said the Church’s social teaching has “stood the test of time” whereas “Marxist ideas haven’t”.
THEDEPUTY headmaster at the Catholic school attended by Lewis Hamilton has paid tribute to the old boy for carrying out “God’s work”. Clive Matthew said Hamilton, 23, who on Sunday became the
youngest ever Formula One world champion, was an inspiration for pupils at the voluntary-aided John Henry Newman School in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Mr Matthew said: “We offer Lewis our heartfelt congratulations on his outstanding achievement. We are very pleased for him.”
INSIDE: NEWMAN RELICS TRANSFERRED TO ORATORY PAGE 3