Psychological Evaluation of Catholic Seminary Candidates: Strengths, Shortcomings, and an Innovative Plan

Authors: Gerard J. McGlone Len Sperry

November 19, 2020

The ongoing clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has led to calls for major changes in the psychological evaluation of seminary applicants. Unfortunately, there is increasing agreement that current, standard psychological testing is not effective in ferreting out sexual difficulties in the general population, much less in seminary candidates. In this Spirituality in Clinical Practice article, Senior Research Fellow Rev. Gerard J. McGlone, S.J., and co-author Len Sperry address both the strengths and shortcomings of the current evaluation process, as well as within the ecclesial system. The authors then outline a plan for large-scale postdoctoral training and certification of psychologists to provide evidence-based psychological evaluations of seminary candidates.

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