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The Vatican vs. The APA

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2008

The Vatican has issued a statementcalling on Catholic seminaries to test applicants for psychological traits including “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” The document doesn’t require psychological testing, but it does suggest that psychological evaluations could be useful to detect a “sexuality identity that is confused or not yet well defined.” The Vatican had previously released guidelines barring gay men from entering the seminary unless they had been chaste for at least three years.

But as the Los Angeles Times points out, enlisting psychologists to root out gay men from the seminary could be a problem, especially considering the American Psychological Association’s guidelines:

“Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status, and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.”

So here’s the thing. The problem the Vatican is trying to solve in the aftermath of its clergy sexual abuse scandals is pedophilia, not homosexuality. Pope Benedict XVI himself recognized that distinction last April when he addressed the scandals, saying “I would not speak at this moment about homosexuality, but pedophilia which is another thing. And we would absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

So if the problem is not homosexuality, then what is this except an activity “based upon such prejudices”?

Any psychologist who cooperates with this witch hunt will find himself or herself in violation of the APA’s guidelines.



November 17th, 2008 | LINK

Once they’re rid of the pedophiles and of the gays (2 different types of people of course), will they have anyone left to be a priest?

November 17th, 2008 | LINK

Of course they will have someone left to be a priest, women!

Oh, wait. I guess they can’t. Oops!

Bill Ware
November 17th, 2008 | LINK

As a former APA member, let me mention that being an APA member is not always required to practice psychology, even at the PhD level.

Most government agencies, hospitals and other health care facilities, and a great many private employers require APA membership for employment in the area. They know without further vetting that the person will have met certain education and training requirements, abides by certain ethical standards, receives so many hours of continuing education each year and so on.

Yet there is no “legal” requirement that any employer require APA membership and of course, a person can enter private practice with his or her PhD diploma on the wall, and never mention to the clients that he or she is not an APA member.

So the Catholic seminaries can hire psychologists for the purposes you have mentioned from those who are otherwise qualified yet are not APA members. Membership might be the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” and indeed commands a salary premium, yet other options are available.

So if you find a psychologist violating APA standards or an employer using psychologists in an unethical way when compared to APA standards, and confront these situations, and the person(s) involved simply say, “Well, I’m not an APA member,” then there’s really little more one can do.

Lynn David
November 17th, 2008 | LINK

All they have to do is hire Nicolosian clones. And since the Catholic Medical Association has cloned the Catholic catechism to produce their document on homosexuality (see:, then the US Church is in spades. They don’t have to worry at all about the APA.

November 18th, 2008 | LINK

I’m very curious to know what how this test measures homosexuality. Namely,

*If can someone lie their way thru it? Like the Jones/Yarhouse test? If so, why are they kicking out people for being honest?
*If they can’t lie thru it (if such a thing were possible), and someone who has “successfully” gone thru reparative therapy takes it, will they prove reparative therapy doesn’t work? Won’t they demonstrate that homosexualty cannot be chosen, only celibacy, thus exposing more problems that they’re fixing?

Has the Vatican allowed heterosexuals who were unchaste during the past three years? I’m guessing they don’t, so isn’t this hypocritical to allow heterosexual extramarital sex but not homosexual?

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