October 07, 2005

Priests on the Couch


A Catholic priest who works with troubled clerics talks about seminaries, gay priests, and what's right with the priesthood.

Interview with Father Stephen Rossetti

Despite the news headlines, most Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. are well-adjusted and happy, says priest and licensed psychologist Stephen Rossetti--but that doesn't mean there aren't important problems to be addressed. Rossetti is president and CEO of the St. Luke Institute, which helps Catholic priests and other religious deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, sexual problems, overeating, and compulsive spending. He spoke with Beliefnet recently about gay priests, the upcoming inspection of U.S. seminaries, and the good news from his new book, The Joy of Priesthood.

The upcoming "apostolic visitation"—a kind of inspection of Catholic seminaries—will tackle many issues; homosexuality is only one of them. But to the extent that the visitors to the seminaries are concerned about homosexuality, is this about sexual abuse, about recruiting straight priests, or about something else? What are their major concerns?

I do know there have been complaints in the distant past about inappropriate homosexual behaviors in young seminarians. I was more aware of those in the 1970s and 1980s, frankly. In some ways, I think the visitation is about 20 years too late. I spend a lot of time with seminaries and I think they're pretty good now. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were some inappropriate things going on.

Posted by kshaw at October 7, 2005 08:42 PM