Cardinal backs down from HIV testing for seminary candidates

.- The Archdiocese of Montreal has backed down from implementing a policy that would screen seminary candidates for HIV, after consulting with canon and civil lawyers.

At a press conference one month earlier, Jan. 12, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte said the criteria for admission to the Grand Seminary of Montreal were revised and it was thought that, given the realities of the modern world, candidates should be screened for HIV. He defended the policy to reporters, which would have taken effect this fall. He had added that the screening would not have been mandatory.

However, in a press release issued Feb. 16, the cardinal said the screening was never made official in a written policy statement. He said the archdiocese is in an ongoing process of revising its admission criteria for the seminary, “however, we can affirm even now that this revision will not impose a HIV test,” the statement said.

The cardinal also pointed out that the Archdiocese of Montreal shares and respects the societal values contained in the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Gazette’s Jan. 10 story, which first made the HIV-screening requirement public, had local gay-rights groups up in arms. They accused the archdiocese of discriminating against homosexuals and submitted a request to the Quebec Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into the matter.

But Human Rights Commission spokesperson Ginette L’Heureux said that, after the archdiocese’s announcement two days ago, the commission will likely not follow through with any investigations.


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