No Pyschological Testing

Vatican City, 8 October 1998

N. 98002473

Most Rev. John W. Yanta
Bishop of Amarillo
Diocesan Pastoral Center
P.O. Box 5644
Amarillo TX 79117-5644
U.S.A.

Your Excellency,

In reference to the recourse against two of Your Excellency’s decrees of the Rev. Phillip Lindley, a priest of your Diocese, written on the 30th of June and received here at this Congregation on the 8th day of July, 1998, this Congregation has found and decided upon the following.

Your Excellency issued to Rev. Lindley a decree on April 28, 1998 sending him for psychological evaluation to the Institute of Living in Hartford Connecticut. The Rev. Lindley did not assent to psychological evaluation which he regarded as an “undue intrusion on the canonical right to privacy” (cf.c.220) and he therefore asked you for a revocation of the said decree.

You declined the request fro revocation on 29 May, 1998 and once again directed the priest to undergo psychological evaluation at the Institute of Living in Hartford.  Fr. Lindley once again refused the assignment on the 5th of  June, 1998 and once again asked Your Excellency to revoke both the decree of April 28 and of May 29, 1998.

It is the consistent teaching of the Magisterium that investigation of the intimate psychological and moral status of the interior life of any member of the Christian faithful can not be carried on except with the consent of the one to undergo such evaluation, as is clearly written about in the instruction of the Secretariat of the State in their August 6, 1976 letter to Pontifical Representatives.

Therefore, this Congregation concludes that Your Excellency can not, in this case, under pain of obedience, oblige your priest, the Rev. Phillip Lindley, to undergo psychological evaluation.

The Congregation hastens to add that this decision in no way touches upon or enters into the merit of the canonical process of removal of a pastor which Your Excellency has already begun.

I take this opportunity to renew my sentiments of esteem and with every best wish I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Dario Cardinal Castillon

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