Psychiatric Illness in the Clergy?

A post on Mind Hacks was discussing psychoanalysis of clergy members. The author found a 1969 article about several monks who underwent psychoanalysis, only to discover about themselves that they felt that they desired a married life to a life of God.

The incident that inspired the ’69 article occurred in 1961. It was decided that psychoanalysis would be beneficial to clergy in training, so 60 monks participated in psychoanalysis therapy. After the therapy, only 20 decided to remain clergy. The other 40 felt a calling to married life.

Similar results occurred when a group of nuns attended psychotherapy. A large percentage left the covenant, with a few converting to lesbians.

In retaliation, the pope banned clergy from participating in psychoanalysis.

The 1969 article was titled “Psychiatric Illness in the Clergy”. I may be wrong, but I don’t feel that the desire to marry and have a family should be considered a psychiatric illness. Nor do I believe that recognizing your sexual orientation to be a psychiatric illness. And, I feel like it is doing the potential-clergy and the rest of society a disservice by banning psychoanalysis of clergy. How can one successfully serve God if they aren’t happy with their life? A life of religious celibacy isn’t for everyone, and I think that people have the right to know if they are right for the job.

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