admission to the seminary. The timely discernment of and attention to
such problems that would hinder the vocational journey can only be of
great benefit to the applicant as well as to the Church.
The report of the psychological assessment may recommend the
postponement of admittance to the seminary, so that adequate therapy
or counseling may take place. This is especially true when the applicant
would require a significant duration (e.g., a year or more), frequency
(e.g., multiple times per week), or intensity of therapy, which would
limit the applicant’s ability to engage fully in the seminary program.
On the other hand, the report may recommend, for unresolved issues
that do not require extensive therapy, the admission of the applicant
while such therapy continues.
Desired Qualities of the Psychological
Professional Who Conducts Evaluations
for Seminary Admissions
Professionals in the field of psychology are educated in human behavior.
They are taught to understand the unique emotional and relational com-
ponents of human development in assessing applicants to the seminary.
Their primary role is to provide information to the bishop or major supe-
rior, who along with the applicant is involved in the discernment process.
Number 51 of the PPF presumes that each seminary will develop its
own guidelines for psychologists. It is especially important to engage pro-
fessionals who are licensed and have the appropriate clinical experience
and expertise to conduct the testing and evaluation process and to pro-
vide appropriate interpretation. Clinical experts are ethically bound to
address only the areas in which they are properly educated, supervised,
, no. 8.
6 Pope John Paul II,
Pastores Dabo Vobis
(PDV), (Washington, DC: United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops, 1992), no. 61;
, no. 8; PPF, nos. 80-8.
PPF, number 53, states, “If long-term therapeutic work is indicated, this is best accomplished
before the decision is made concerning entrance into the seminary. At times, the gravity of
family or personal issues is such that, if the candidate has not yet adequately dealt with these
issues, entrance into the seminary program should be denied.”