Bishop congratulates Anglicans on tough priest screening

Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous has congratulated moves by the Anglican Church to introduce tough psychological tests next year for prospective priests, saying the tests are necessary to weed out potential paedophiles.

Bishop Porteous, who is rector of Good Shepherd seminary in Sydney, says the Catholic Church's "recent history" of paedophile priests has also led it to tighten up its testing procedures, the Courier-Mail reports.

Bishop Porteous, who is rector of Good Shepherd seminary in Sydney, said that serious question marks are raised during the psychological assessments of up to one in 10 prospective priests.

Testing had become more focused in recent years because of the "recent history" of legal action against paedophile priests.

Bishop Porteous said question marks had been raised over issues of celibacy, sexuality and dedication to the vocation.

"There has always been an element of psychological testing but it is more refined now, particularly in the past five years we have been more acutely conscious of (our recent history). It is an area that I am constantly alert to, we expect a very high standard," Bishop Porteous said.

Following an earlier Courier-Mail report, future Anglican Church clergy would endure tough psychological profiling to weed out potential paedophiles.

Bishop Porteous congratulated the Anglican Church for responding to the problem in a "very serious and thorough way".

The Anglican Church's professional standards director Rod McLary says it has taken four years to devise the tests, according to the ABC.

"I know I've had some discussions with my counterparts in other dioceses and we've talked about an appropriate test," he said.

"I know they're very much thinking about and working on it, but I think we may be close to the first, if not the first to implement a very good test."

Tighter screening for priests (Courier-Mail, 14/12/06)
Would-be Anglican clergy face test to keep out paedophiles (ABC News 13/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Seminary of the Good Shepherd
Bishop Julian Porteous (Archdiocese of Sydney)

15 Dec 2006