Thursday, November 6, 2008

Priests Need More Psychology

That seems to be the conclusion of a new Vatican report from the Congregation for Catholic Education, per Zenit. It's not that I really disagree with this. It's lines from the article that talk about how we need to put more emphasis on psychological profiles in the discernment process and how priests need psychological maturity, not just a sound spiritual life.

Is it weird to think that the latter will typically entail the former? I don't know too many people with a solid spiritual constitution who are also psychologically frail.

Here's my concern. If you ran psychological profiles on the Cure of Ars, Padre Pio, Catherine of Siena, St. Benedict, etc., I'm willing to bet none of them would have been admitted to the religious life. You can imagine the exchange:

Psychologist: "So, Mr. Vianney, tell me about your problems."

Cure of Ars: "Well, things would be great if Satan would stop beating the crap out of me at night."

Psychologist (hurriedly scribbling a commitment certificate for intense inpatient therapy in a maximum security facility): "Next!"

Yeah, something like that. Just look at how members of Opus Dei are treated. Corporal mortification? These people are disturbed. They must be a cult. There needs to be an investigation.

And so forth.


Karl said...

One needs a correct psychology, one based on a biblical understanding of what the psyche or soul is.

Hey, there are plenty of varieties of psychology: would one based on St. Paul be any worse than Freud or Sartre?

Throwback said...

It's not that I think it's completely a bad idea. There's plenty of value to be had. However, psychology these days seems to be more a platform for a denial of the supernatural (Fr. Karras) or a platform for Pelagianism (Dr. Phil). I'm probably biased and just have an allergy to the word in general.

As long as there are more Fr. Groeschels than Greeleys, it can work.