Psychological Evaluation of Clergy

The Holy See has constantly defended the right of a person to refuse psychological evaluation. (cfr. A.A.S. LIII (1961)

Pope Paul VI held the opinion that psychological testing as an invasion of the internal forum. He instructed Cardinal Villot, then Cardinal Secretary of State, to make his mind known to the bishops of the Church. This was done in a letter dated 6 August 1976, which was sent to all the Nuncios for transmission to the bishops of the world (cfr. Segreteria di Stato, N.311157, 6 August 1976).

On October 8, 1998, The Congregation for the Clergy wrote: It is the constant teaching of the Magisterium that investigation of the interior and moral status of any member of the Christian faithful cannot 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.

The release of information form that you choose sign (or not) should be very specific in designating to whom the assessment information will be released, and over what time period it will be in effect. Only you have the right to designate to whom the report will be released.

Federal and Civil Statutes forbid any information to be released without a signed authorization from the individual. It is also the right of the person to review the information before it is released and approve it.

These rights must be clearly understood to be real rights of the individual and must be safeguarded as such by competent authority. These are not mere theories subject to arbitrary interpretation and application but are rights guaranteed in out legal structure.

Other Relevant Material: Letter from the Congregation for the Clergy

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