Certainly the selection process for prospective OCSP clergy has improved since Msgr Steenson's day. Unlike Frs Hough III and Meeks, Fr Perkins visits communities in formation. The candidates gather in Houston for a week of formation several times a year. I would assume that the Ordinariate makes use of the resources of the local archdiocese or seminary to conduct psychological screening while candidates are in town. The first wave of clergy simply had to present a clean bill of mental health from any certified professional, someone they were responsible for finding and paying. Of course this still doesn't approach the scrutiny of normal seminary formation. And no one in Houston has access to the channels necessary for a meaningful background check of someone from a different denomination.But wait a moment. a "week of formation several times a year" implies that the process of formation takes years for OCSP candidates. But Dcns Bengry and Beahen were ordained to the transitional diaconate less then a year after being received, and only months after moving to Calgary. They were in actual "residence" in Houston for only a week or two at best, as far as I can see.
Let's not mince words here. I've pointed out several issues of concern on this blog, Bengry has gone under different names in recent years, even now calling himself "Brother" Robert Charles Bengry on his blog, while his blog address is still robertshanebengry. He switched from Shane as a preferred given name to Robert about the time he decided to seek Roman Catholic ordination. His mother is also going under a different name, such that apparently the new name caused the Calgary parish not to recognize that "Sister" Mary Myrna is actually Shane's, er, Robert's mother.
Remarkably, I've had spontaneous and independent reports from Brandon, Carberry, and Calgary that Shane, er, Robert is "charming" but "manipulative" and gives some individuals a "bad feeling". (Oddly, the only other OCSP priest of whom I've had multiple complaints from multiple locations is Fr Kenyon.)
I've cited clear cases of deceptiveness on Dcn Bengry's part here, and evaluation of his statements on his own blog and on the Gilbertine site leads other informed observers to conclude that he is pushing ambiguities to the limit for his own benefit.
I won't go farther here than to suggest his family history is bizarre and troubling, something that would urgently need to be pursued in the course of any serious psychological evaluation.
Now let's look at a description of normative diocesan screening procedures for seminary candidates:
More than a decade after the priest sex abuse crisis shook the Catholic Church from its pews to the altar, American seminaries increasingly are focusing on forming the man before forming the priest, according to rectors and staff psychologists at seminaries across the United States.Farther down,
Seminary applicants today undergo screening that includes written psychological tests and intensely personal interviews to determine if their emotional development is appropriate to their age. Such screenings show what further growth they need to serve as a priest or whether they are afflicted by serious mental health issues that should prevent them from priestly formation.
“Our society has malformed, and it has a tendency to malform us, so someone who has a tendency to be malformed must be identified at the beginning of the process to enter a seminary,” Father Przybilla told Our Sunday Visitor. “For our diocese that is particularly important coming at this time. People are asking of the seminary, ‘Are they doing their job?’”I don't represent myself as a mental health professional, and I deeply distrust pop psychology. Nevertheless, a quick search of psychopathic traits on the web will bring up characteristics like these:
- Glib and superficial charm
- Willingness to take extreme risks
- Poor behavior controls
- Antisocial behavior like cheating and lying.
Initially, psychopaths are highly reliable, devoted and trustworthy, then suddenly and without provocation, they become extremely unreliable and show no regard or interest to how their actions affect the situation, regardless of its importance. Where they were once viewed as being honest and with sincere intentions, they will do a sudden about face and begin lying without concerns. This holds true even in small matters when there is no benefit in lying, yet the psychopath will choose to be untruthful.I would suggest that a week or two of residence in Houston will not serve to root out problems like these. Clearly there are issues that diocesan staff concerned with clergy formation have had to confront, and I would assume that bitter experience has been part of their learning process.
Because psychopaths have mastered the art of deception by presenting such positive behavior at first, those around them are slow to accept the abrupt change and total disregard for the relationship that was built. When psychopaths are finally confronted with their lack of responsibility, honesty or loyalty, it generally has no impact on their attitude or future performance.
As I've said before, there are red flags in Dcn Bengry's case that would come up with anyone who has ordinary common sense. So far, though, it appears that he's skated past whatever perfunctory screening Houston performs.