Church of England May Weed Out Narcissistic New Priests Using Personality Tests

We know that churches can be breeding grounds for narcissists. You don’t have to look much further than televangelists and megachurch pastors to find a long list of examples.

The Church of England is devising a plan to weed people like that out before they even get hired:

the Church of England wants all trainee priests to go through personality tests before their induction.

The denomination is “considering the use of psychological assessment as part of the process of discernment for those seeking ordination in the Church of England,” The Telegraph¬†quotes Julian Hubbard, director of the Church’s Ministry Division, as saying.

The Church’s bishops will consider undertaking an exercise next year to find ways to analyze the personalities of new priests so that the denomination knows what kind of people it’s attracting.

Would that work? It’s hard to tell. What’s the dividing line between someone whose personality suggests narcissism and one who has the kind of charisma needed to attract people to your church?

Are these accurate? Currently, the Church uses the Myers Briggs test and an Enneagram to evaluate some clergy members in training. Both have their fair share of criticism for being unscientific.

Still, weeding out personalities that could cause problems down the road isn’t a bad idea. It’s also worth noting, however, that narcissists are quite good at charming and manipulating people. It’s possible that some could charm their way through these tests, presenting themselves as ordinary people, with evaluators none the wiser.

At least this denomination is doing something about the ongoing problem of abusers in church. Their actions will hopefully yield more positive results than just thoughts and prayers.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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