Psychology & The Priesthood…

Psychology & The Priesthood…

ImageThe term “clerical abuse” is usually associated with the sexual abuse of minors by priests (the seriousness of which I in no way intend to diminish), yet, the far more pervasive, albeit disparate in gravity, reality is that priests are the recipients of abuse by the same churchmen and church entities always crying out in sanctimonious hypocrisy for “the rights of man,” “freedom of conscience,” and “the dignity of the human person.”…In short, bishops and chanceries overtly abuse their power over priests simply because they can. The documented cases which prove this reality could (and probably should) be a hefty tome unto itself. Click here to read more.

Comment: It’s unthinkable that any bishop would send a priest into the Lion’s Den of a place like St Luke’s, as described by ‘Fr Kennedy’ – and there are plenty such centres around the world. It’s times like this that I am thankful women cannot be ordained because under no circumstances would I agree to subject myself to the kind of psychological “treatment” offered by the “professionals” in these places.  What about you?

Comments (30)

  • Josephine

    I think it’s disgraceful that bishops would use a place like St Luke’s founded by homosexuals. A few years ago I would not have believed that this sort of thing could be happening in the Church. I’m going to re-read the article and take a look properly at the book, but after a quick reading I am horrified.

    February 6, 2014 at 10:37 pm
  • Frankier

    I used to wonder why I was so lucky to be born to devout Catholic parents but after reading this I am beginning to have my doubts.

    February 6, 2014 at 11:08 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    I was dumbfounded to read that article and am looking forward to exploring the book The Great Apostasy. The following quote is profoundly important, IMHO:

    “There is a large part of his inner world which the person discloses to a few confidential friends and shields against the intrusion of others. Certain matters are kept secret at any price and in regard to anyone. Finally, there are other matters which the person is unable to consider … And just as it is illicit to appropriate another’s goods or to make an attempt on his bodily integrity without his consent, so it is not permissible to enter into his inner domain against his will, whatever is the technique or method used” (Pope Pius XII, 1958 – detailed source & emphasis in original).”

    How humiliating it must be for a priest to be subjected to the probing of therapists. Honestly, what young boy would think of becoming a priest these days, between lay people doing almost everything that the priest used to do, to this sort of treatment for priests thought to be a problem of whatever kind.

    It does actually happen in the workplace as well that people are pressured into seeing a psychiatrist – it’s a tactic to get rid of people. it really is shocking. It is even more shocking that bishops send priests to these kind of places. St Luke’s sounds terrible – it should definitely not be used after the Vatican condemnation it received.

    The priest who wrote the book sounds great – I was impressed that he is now living a “Carthusian-based life” and no longer saying the novus ordo. So, I suppose what I’m saying is, it’s not all bad news.

    February 7, 2014 at 12:30 am
  • Nicky

    St Luke’s is a well known centre in the USA. Priests attend it from all around the world. I have no doubt that there will have been Scots priests sent there. Why on earth would bishops send their priests to such a place, knowing it was condemned by the Vatican?

    The more that’s being uncovered about the hierarchy, the more we need to pray for them. One of the saints said “the walls of Hell are paved with the skulls of bishops” and I, for one, have no problem believing that.

    February 7, 2014 at 12:43 am
    • Michaela


      I could not agree with you more. It is beyond belief that bishops would sent priests to a place like St Luke’s and I sincerely hope you are wrong about the Scots bishops sending priests there. I would say especially a priest who needs help to get back on the straight and narrow would be ill-served by sending him to that centre.

      I’m impressed by Fr Kennedy having the courage to write the book and expose St Luke’s. I presume, maybe wrongly, that he’s had first hand experience of the place, and all the more power to his elbow if that’s the case. I wish more priests would raise their heads above the parapet.

      February 7, 2014 at 1:11 am
  • Miles Immaculatae

    I recall the fantastically sinister film Return to Oz, based on Baum’s later books in the Oz series, wherein a melancholic Dorothy is taken to rouge clinic in an attempt by her guardians to sanitise her of her wearying childish delusions. She is restrained against her own will and is taken to receive a crude form of electro-convulsive therapy. As a child, I found it chilling.

    … I get the same feeling when I think about the Saint Luke centre.

    February 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm
  • Gregory Grey

    When the secular officials at Lourdes tried to discredit and disgrace St. Bernadette they used…psychologists, of course. Just as Stalin had the help of psychiatrists in that they deemed insane anyone who would oppose the government, the New World Order has adopted this tactic. Brock Chisholm (the first head of the World Health OrganizationA) stated that those who do not believe in a one world government are mentally ill. Recently the U.N. sponsored a conference, “Showdown with Religion” and singled out Catholicism as an enemy. Psychiatrists are the Grand Inquisitors of militant atheism; don’t be surprised when one shows up at your door.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    • editor

      Gregory Grey,

      All very interesting. It is, of course, a Communist tactic to label someone mentally ill when they disagree with the “Party” but how tragic when agents of the Church use it against our own priests.

      “Psychiatrists are the Grand Inquisitors of militant atheism; don’t be surprised when one shows up at your door.”….. I’m moving house – right away ❗

      February 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    This article reminds me of the punitive psychiatry of the Stalinist regime employed to gag political dissidents. I long suspected the psychological testing of priestly candidates was discriminatory against traditional-minded men. I happen to know such testing accounts for diddly-squat. Candidates I know of, although grievously morally deficient, have slipped through, whereas myself on the other hand would likely be pathologised, by a secularist, materialist psychologist (probably a woman).

    Ironically, psychological testing was introduced at the recommendation of the epically titled 2005 dossier

    Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders

    which isn’t actually half bad, considering it came from the Vatican. It refers to homosexuality as a disorder of ‘affective immaturity’. It was written under the advice of a praiseworthy Catholic psychiatrist, and it was perceived to subtly make the connection between pederasty and male homosexual tendencies. To the horror of dissident Catholics, homosexuals and secular shrinks, of course.

    In practice however, the tests are hardly ever conducted by professionals who shared the sentiments expressed in the document. In fact, such sentiments are considered homophobic by every western mental health authority. So what are the chances of the Church employing the services of an orthodox Catholic psychologist? Unlikely. Almost all will advocate the psycho-social normalisation of homosexuality. These are the people who are choosing our priests.

    I spoke to an SSPX priest about this ludicrous practice. He said that psychological testing and the disclosure of their findings in an ecclesiastical environment was positively ‘incestuous’. Any seminary rector/ vocations director worth his salt ought be able to weed out the weirdos according to the manner that has served the Church for centuries: namely, common sense, sound intuition, and unbiased observation.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm
    • Nicky

      Miles Immaculatae,

      “Any seminary rector/ vocations director worth his salt ought be able to weed out the weirdos according to the manner that has served the Church for centuries: namely, common sense, sound intuition, and unbiased observation.”

      The priest who said that is absolutely correct. I agree fully. The use of these psychologists is just change for the sake of change. I think a priest should be free to say “no” when he’s asked to see one of these therapist types.

      February 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm
  • Miles Immaculatae

    The Saint Luke’s Centre have an international branch in Manchester, UK. It accepts clients from Great Britain and Europe. It is officially endorsed by the English and Welsh Bishops’ Conference.

    This is the organisation currently undertaking the psychological testing of priestly candidates.

    These days, as far as I’m concerned, a man stands no chance of becoming a priest unless he is homosexual.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm
  • Christina

    Miles Immaculatae, I was happier NOT knowing that this place existed in Manchester, so I’ll omit the usual courtesy due to folk who share their research findings with the lazier among us!! The link has really disgusted and infuriated me. How have we come to such a pass, intellectually as well as morally that this unspeakable (censored noun) can even be written in all seriousness, let alone be used in the ‘discernment’ of suitable candidates for the priesthood. Take this bit of the same censored noun:

    We have a highly qualified staff of clinicians, physical wellness professionals and spiritual formators. With 35 years of experience treating clergy and religious, we understand the challenges of ministry. Our leadership team and clinicians are available to assist bishops, provincials, major superiors and other Church leaders in supporting wellness among clergy and religious, including when and how to intervene.

    Physical wellness?? Spiritual formators??? Gimme strength!

    I believe that you’re quite right in what you say – that a man stands no chance of becoming a priest unless he is homosexual. I was talking to a local priest, a convert from Anglicanism, some time ago. He had gone through this discernment process, presumably at this very place, as he is a Manchester priest. He said that the main impression he was given during the process is that the Catholic Church is obsessed with sex, and he said so to the nun interviewing him who had asked “Did you ever see your mother naked?” Truly diabolically obscene.

    February 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm
    • Miles Immaculatae

      I know somebody who underwent the candidates’ psychological test.

      One of the questions which was asked was much worse than “Did you ever see your mother naked?

      In my opinion, such interrogations constitute an intrinsic moral evil.

      February 8, 2014 at 1:17 am
      • Miles Immaculatae

        And what the hell is a woman-religious doing interfering in the private emotional life of a priest? If a young man, nay men and women of any age are made to feel that the future of their vocation depends on their compliance with the testing, then that is a very sick kind of coercion.

        February 8, 2014 at 1:21 am
  • pewcatholic

    Maybe the bishops should be given the psychological treatment first.

    February 8, 2014 at 7:24 pm
  • Josephine

    Pew Catholic,

    That’s a great idea – the bishops should have to undergo that treatment before sending priests for it. I agree.

    I’ve been reading the book by Fr Kennedy and it is really gripping. I have copied some quotes he gives from Pope Paul VI because they are damning of the Council but why didn’t he stop it, then? It is really hard to understand. These are the quotes plus a paragraph from Fr Kennedy at the end:

    “In many areas the Council has not so far given us peace but rather stirred up troubles and problems that in no way serve to strengthen the Kingdom of God within the Church or within its souls.”5
    – Pope Paul VI

    “It was believed that after the council a sunny day in the Church’s history would dawn, but instead there came a day of clouds, storms and darkness.”6
    – Pope Paul VI

    “The opening to the world became a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking. This invasion deprives the Church of its power to oppose the world and robs it of its own specific character.”7
    – Paul VI

    “Doubt has entered our conscience, and it has entered through windows that were supposed to be opened to the light instead…”8
    – Paul VI, June 29, 1972

    “Profane and secular humanism has shown itself in its own terrible stature and has in a sense defied the Council. The religion of God made man has come up against the religion of a man who makes himself God.”9
    – Pope Paul VI

    “The Church is in a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would better be called self destruction. It is an acute and complicated upheaval which nobody would have expected after the council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking herself.”10
    – Pope Paul VI

    This constitutes nothing less than an admission by the Pope himself that an apostasy is underway. The Church’s enemies had been trying to destroy her for two thousand years; yet now a Pope has conceded that it is the Church acting as her own enemy. If this does not warrant the adjective “Great” with the current apostasy, whatever would? Here is repeated an even more startling admission ”

    The above extract from The Great Apostasy is enough to call Vatican II into question. What I can’t get my head around is why did Paul VI not put an end to it? Maybe he tried – does anyone know?

    February 8, 2014 at 10:31 pm
    • catholicthoughtsblog

      Dear Josephine – I have never heard anyone report that Paul VI had intended to end the council, but it seems that some early alarm bells had nonetheless gone off in his mind. I cannot base this on any type of sound scholarship, but many writers felt that Paul gradually became aware of the disastrous road the Church was on and came to realize others had exploited his trust (and perhaps naivetee) towards this end. He spent the last 10 years of his papacy somewhat paralyzed by this knowledge, yet not knowing what to do about it. Again, all of this is cetainly from the “for what it’s worth…” file. – Sincerely in Christ, Fr. Kennedy

      February 9, 2014 at 1:44 pm
  • Josephine

    I was surprised that Fr Kennedy quoted Our Lady of La Salette as one of his sources, because my understanding is that although it was approved at one point, later on it wasn’t, or something. I’m not sure of my ground here, but I think the seer went off the rails. I’d like to know if it is an approved apparition or not, if anyone can explain the situation with it.

    February 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm
    • editor


      There was, indeed, some controversy over La Salette, but I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly why, so I found this page from Fisheaters which looks quite detailed.

      Personally, I tend to avoid any apparitions that are not wholly approved – in fact, I tend to think that since Fatima, as Pope Benedict said, “places an obligation on the whole Church”, there is no need to pay too much attention to others. Fatima and Quito are, in my view, all that we need to make sense of the current crisis in the Church.

      However, Father Kennedy writes that La Salette was among the sources that helped him to recognise The Great Apostasy and so it is worth re-examining it in the light of his riveting book.

      February 9, 2014 at 12:02 am
    • catholicthoughtsblog

      St. John Vianney believed in LaSalette, but became unsure upon meeting Maximillian (although Melanie was the primary seer). He prayed to the Blessed Mother, asked for a sign, and upon receiving it both believed and promolgated the apparition from then on. A friend who has researched the subject said that the Vatican later tried to retract a portion of it (that critical of Rome) much as Pope John tried to stifle and cast doubt over Fatima. Thanks for your comment – I always fear trusting a faulty source or bad translation and verify as best as I am able. If anyone should ever find such an instance, I would be grateful if you let me know. In Christ, Fr. Kennedy

      February 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm
      • editor


        Thank you for that explanation which makes a lot of sense. I’m going to refresh my memory by re-examining the apparitions of La Salette in the light of what you have said. Many thanks.

        February 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm
      • Nicky


        That is a beautiful page/picture of Our Lady and it’s useful to have your book divided into chapters that way. I had a look at the version linked in the blog article but that is actually easier to manoeuvre.

        I agree with you that we shouldn’t write off La Salette as the Vatican also tried to stifle Fatima. I was more doubtful about it because Melanie the seer went off the rails but as someone said (on this blog, actually) that doesn’t mean it’s not true, as she would be subject to temptations from the Devil as a result of her privilege of seeing Our Lady.

        February 9, 2014 at 7:19 pm
  • Josephine

    This is Fr Gruner speaking about The Great Apostasy and he mentions La Salette!

    February 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm
  • jobstears

    A very informative thread, Editor. The hypocrisy is truly unbelievable. The SSPX gets a bad rap for being “disobedient”, but for bishops to send their priests (and I’m willing to bet the majority of priests sent there are of a traditional bent) to a treatment facility condemned by the Vatican is not?

    Like Miles Immaculatae, I wonder why dioceses would have women religious involved in the selection or screening process of men interested in the priesthood. Many years ago, a relative of mine who was discerning a call to the priesthood, asked to talk to the vocations director of the diocese. He was interviewed by a nun who assured him he had no vocation!! That was that.

    February 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    • editor


      Thank you – and how wonderful to have a new blogger with an avatar! And such a lovely avatar, too. My eyes are being tested to the limit these days with all the “mystery man” avatars on our sidebar 🙄

      Yes, there are definitely double standards going on big time in the Church these days, with one rule for anyone showing a leaning towards Catholic Tradition, and quite another – much more lenient – rule for Modernists.

      I’ve heard that before about religious Sisters making decisions about priestly vocations. Disgraceful.

      I’m very pleased that you find this thread informative. I’m a little disappointed at the relative lack of interest in it. The subject matter is so shocking that I really expected many more comments. I don’t think many Catholics are aware that good priests are being sent to places like St Luke’s for minor “transgressions” and it’s not something that most of us would like to have on our CVs. I once met a priest who was sent there and when I expressed amazement that he’d gone along with his bishop, he said he had to do so – otherwise he’d have been “finished”. Sounds very like blackmail to me – but then, as I keep telling you all, I’m a simple gal.

      Of course, when I said to that priest that I wouldn’t go along with such a scandalous referral, I wasn’t being quite truthful. Not deliberately, I hasten to add but I’d momentarily forgotten that I was once sent to see a doctor by a leading light in the Catholic educational establishment for annoying the “liberals” around me. It’s already in the public domain, in an article the Editor of Christian Order published some years ago. I enjoyed pointing out that I must be one of the few people in the world with a letter from a doctor to prove that I’m playing with a full deck.

      And when I say “liberals” in Catholic education, I mean not just the Catholic ones. An Anglican member of staff reported me to one of the priest-governors for speaking in assembly about the Mass as Sacrifice. The Monsignor told him to ignore me, that I was behind the (Vatican II) times. Anyway, the allegations of orthodoxy built up and the time came when I had to be “re-educated”. Happily, the plan to have me declared insane back-fired when the doctor refused to play ball. As my closest family and friends keep telling me, he saw me on a good day. I subsequently discovered that I am not the only member of my profession to have been considered a candidate for the funny farm due to a refusal to accept the theological equivalent of 2 + 2 = 25.

      Priests are in an even more vulnerable position than lay people, so I’m hoping that this thread will waken up a few readers to what is going on in terms of the “re-education” of certain priests considered to be in need of help, while the heretics are left free to write their newspaper columns and give talks on Catholic premises – ironically, alleging that the rest of us are mad 🙄

      February 12, 2014 at 11:48 pm
      • Josephine


        “I’m very pleased that you find this thread informative. I’m a little disappointed at the relative lack of interest in it. The subject matter is so shocking that I really expected many more comments.”

        I wouldn’t worry about the number of comments on this blog, it’s got more comments most of the time than a lot of the blogs I visit. Also, I know a priest who thinks this blog is the best there is for the quality of the comments, and the quality of information given that is not given anywhere else without having to go to the sources. The number of comments doesn’t matter – I know I’d like to blog more often but “stuff” gets in the way!

        February 15, 2014 at 1:28 am
      • editor

        Yes, a priest once said the same thing to me – but then he was biased. It was after he pushed the idea of a Catholic Truth blog for over a year that we launched it, so maybe he felt the need to encourage us! He used to comment here himself often, but then moved up that creaky old ladder of success and more or less disappeared from the blog after a while.

        Anyway, he (and your friend) are right about the quality of the comments and information. We are lucky to have some real education going on here and it is, as those priests intimate, quality not quantity that matters. Don’t worry about blogging often. I understand about the “stuff” – we all do what we can when we can. Blogging is not an article of the Faith, remember!

        Actually, I’m very happy with the quantity as well. I only mentioned numbers for this particular thread being disappointing but, of course, if people don’t realise that priests they know are being sent to these sorts of places for what, in the great scheme of things, are essentially trivial reasons, problems that could and should be sorted by other means, then the significance of Father Kennedy’s revelations may not register with them. We have a regular flow of good commentators (with the odd troll type) so I am quite happy with the numbers. Add to that recent praise from “outside the blog” about the pleasant atmosphere, which doesn’t exclude disagreement where disagreement is permitted or required, then I can say, in all honesty, that I’m very pleased with the volume of comments. 😀

        On topic:
        thanks for posting the Fr Gruner interview. I keep meaning to check the Fatima site now that he’s started doing these question and answer interviews but my memory ain’t what it used to be…

        February 15, 2014 at 8:39 am
  • editor

    I think this article on apparitions is very useful – I plan to reprint it in the newsletter asap, since I’m receiving “testimonies” about Medjugorje and Garabandal by the truckload. Although not much about Fatima ❗

    February 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm
  • Graeme Taylor

    The bishops send priests to this diabolical place………whom do they serve?
    …and they ask us to pray for vocations? are they havin a laugh?

    February 22, 2014 at 3:05 pm
    • editor

      Graeme Taylor,

      Somebody is certainly having a laugh – Old Nick for starters!

      March 3, 2014 at 12:29 am

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