Bishop Explains Psychoanalysis of Monks in His Diocese

The psychoanalysis undergone by monks of the Benedictine monastery of the Cuernavaca diocese in Mexico was carried out on a group basis and over a period of 16 years, the bishop of Cuernavaca disclosed here.

Bishop Sergio Mendez Arceo said that the world press had given a “wrong impression” of his appeal to the ecumenical council to give recognition to the findings of Sigmund Freud in the schema on the Church in the modern world.

Press reports had tied Bishop Mendez’ council statement to reports that 60 monks of the Benedictine monastery in his See had been psychoanalyzed in a mass experiment, and that 40 had left the monastery — several having decided that their vocation was marriage rather than the monastic life.

In a statement made public at the American bishops’ press panel session by Msgr. Mark J. Hurley, vice chancellor of the archdiocese of San Francisco, Bishop Mendez said the press failed to report that the psychiatric experiment at the monastery was carried out over a period of 16 years. Furthermore, the bishop said, the method used was not the individual analysis promoted by Freud, but instead the newer method of “group therapy.”

Msgr. Hurley told the press he assumed that “the group therapy method would have been unknown to Freud.”

He noted also that one section of the council’s schema on Religious approved that morning dealt with the requirement of the vow of chastity for those embracing the life of Religious. He cited the approved section as saying that “psychological maturity is required for this vow, and superiors should see to it that their subjects are not allowed to take such a vow without this maturity.”

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