Commentary & Opinion
Medical Examination, Including Possibly HIV Testing, Part of Seminary Application Process, Opinion Piece Says
January 23, 2004
The question of whether a new policy requiring that men who are applying to the Grand Seminaire de Montreal to become Roman Catholic priests undergo HIV testing "may be a good idea or bad idea ... is not altogether that important" because the "drama of the priestly vocation cannot be reduced to medical tests and wrongheaded human rights questions," Father Raymond de Souza, a co-chaplain of Newman House, the Roman Catholic mission at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, writes in a National Post opinion piece. When accepting a new priest into his diocese, a bishop takes on responsibility -- sometimes including health insurance -- for the priest for the remainder of his life, de Souza says, adding, "Whether a diocese should devote the considerable resources necessary for priestly formation to a man who has a serious disease is at least a valid question." Therefore, it is "standard procedure" for dioceses and seminaries to require medical examinations, including tests for HIV and other diseases, he says. De Souza notes that a coalition of Canadian AIDS groups last week asked the Quebec Human Rights Commission to investigate the new policy, saying that requiring an HIV test may constitute a human rights violation. However, "[t]here is serious confusion here," de Souza writes, adding, "There is not a human right to be a priest." He continues, "We have it on the highest authority that ... many are called, but few are chosen. No one has a right to be chosen. It is entirely a gratuitous act of God's mercy." De Souza concludes, "HIV is an important matter of health. More important are matters of faith" (de Souza, National Post, 1/21).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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