Background checks for priests

Background checks for priests

Not sure how I feel about this. A priest is refusing to submit his name for a criminal background check by his diocese because he says it treats all priests as potential suspects without cause. He is appealing to the Vatican to say that it’s a violation of his canonical rights.

I think it is important for dioceses to know if any their priests have criminal records. However, is it fair to automatically assume guilty until proven innocent? Some priests object, saying that those in power know very well which priests are a risk and attention should be focused on them in the first place. They say that bishops don’t want to do the hard work of having to confront individual priests so they put blanket policies in place that put a cloud over their priests instead.

The Indiana priest says that a full background check is an invasion of his privacy and sullies his good name and that his 23 years in service to the diocese should have earned him the Church’s trust. Even federal law says an employer has to obtain an employee’s permission to conduct such a check.