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Pope urges improved screening for seminarians

Pope John Paul II yesterday called on authorities to improve vetting procedures for candidates for the priesthood in the wake of the numerous sex scandals of the past few years.

In a letter to the cardinal in charge of priestly education, the Holy Father said specialists might have to be called into to help teach young candidates about the reality of celibate chastity.

"Right from the moment the young men enter a Seminary their ability to live a life of celibacy should be monitored so that before their ordination one should be morally certain of their sexual and emotional maturity," the pope wrote.

"Given on-going social and cultural changes, teachers might find it useful to turn to the work of competent specialists to help the seminarians fully understand the demands of the priesthood," he added.

The pope, who is suffering from influenza and has canceled all his public appearances so far this week, has previously called on bishops to provide more guidance to priests to try to prevent the sort of sex scandals that rocked the U.S. church.

Pope Tells Church to Improve Priest Vetting (New York Times/Reuters 1/2/05)

Celibacy formation a major part of seminary programs today (Catholic News Service 12/3/04)

Flu-stricken Pope lies low (CathNews 1/2/05)
Recalcitrant peace dove refuses to leave papal apartment (CathNews 31/1/05)
Pope's Lenten message urges respect for elderly (CathNews 28/1/05)
Pope says seminarians who finds chastity difficult should forget priesthood (CathNews 18/3/02)

Pope's illness forces more cancellations (Catholic World News 1/2/05)
Presented to the Pope new edition of the "Guida delle Missioni Cattoliche 2005" (Fides 31/1/05)
"Parishes, oratories, associations, church movements and groups must become privileged places for pedagogy of peace and love": the Pope's Angelus reflection. Appeal to the international community to eradicate the social scourge of leprosy (Fides 31/1/05)
Flu Prompts John Paul II to Halt Audiences (Zenit 31/1/05)
Pope Encourages Legionaries in Living Their Founder's Charism (Zenit 31/1/05)
Guide to Catholic Missions Wins Papal Praise (Zenit 31/1/05)
Pope's Message to General Chapter of Legionaries of Christ (Zenit 31/1/05)
Letter to Priests on the Eucharist and Pastoral Care of Children (Zenit 31/1/05)

2 Feb 2005