Many are called but will they shape up?

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The Independent Online

Religious Affairs Correspondent

If you can choose shapes which fit together with each other and arrange four sentences in a logically compelling order, then you could become Archbishop of Canterbury. From next year the 700 prospective candidates for the Anglican priesthood will have to undergo psychological tests as part of their formal interview.

The Rev Christopher Cunliffe, director of vocations at the Advisory Board for Ministry, the central Church department responsible for the selection and recruitment of priests, said: "The new tests are meant to give a more accurate assessment of a person's capacity for training. They might advantage those who don't present particularly well at the moment. You may have a candidate who talks very fluently and presents well but is not right; or you might be missing candidates who are good at thinking at depth but not good verbally."

The new tests will be added to the current selection process which derives from that used by the Army to select its officers: candidates are tested in in batches of about 15 at a time, by six selectors. Psychological testing is already used by the Roman Catholic Church, but there is greater emphasis on psychological stability under the strains of celibacy.