Thursday, 28 July 2016





The Archbishop of Dublin has celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in Latin for young people in Krakow for World Youth Day.

This was part of the cathechesis he was invited to give to young Polish people who love the Latin Mass.

IN NOMINE PATRIS................

I am glad that Diarmuid has been able to escape the Maynooth Crisis and go back 400 years and dress up like a medieval bishop.

I wonder if the Polish seminarians and priests are on Grindr - GRINDR POLSKA?



Yesterday we learned that Father Rory Coyle has been sent by Archbishop Eamon Martin to a sex addiction clinic in the USA after he had to step down from ministry following showing bid body on the gay cruising app GRINDR.


THE ANSWER - it began when he was a seminarian in MAYNOOTH SEMINARY!

Rory  grew up in Drogheda in what was a very good and a very devout Catholic family. I'm sure he had a perfectly normal and good upbringing and a happy and successful time in Drogheda schools.

To date there is no suggestion that he was sexually abused - or abused in nay way - during his growing years.

At some stage he felt that he had a call to priesthood. As that call grew he presumably talked about it to someone. Eventually he applied to be a priest of Armagh diocese. His home town of Drogheda is in Armagh. 

He was accepted for Armagh and was sent to Maynooth to begin his priestly training.

Rory's sexual orientation is obviously homosexual or gay. He would have been aware of that when he entered Maynooth. It is possible but unlikely that as a young Catholic teenager in Drogheda that he engaged in having sex with other boys or men. At that stage he would have regarded that as a sin.

When he went into Maynooth as a young, probably, immature teenager I'm sure he was determined to be a priest and commit himself to celibacy.

But then something must have happened to break his resolve. What was it that happened?

- Did he see fellow seminarians having sex together?

- Did another seminarian proposition and seduce him?

- Did a priest sexually harass him, assault him or even take him to bed?

- Did he come under pressure from the notorious gay cabal among Maynooth seminarians?

Something HAD to happen to Rory to put him on the path that eventually led him to open a Grindr account to go hunting for no strings attached sex with other men and to take the massive risk of showing his face and his GENITALS on the app.

- And now is is a broken young man.

- Now he is alone and afraid and embarrassed in a sex clinic in the US.

- Now his family and friends are devastated.

It would be a GREAT TRAGEDY if Rory was the only one in this position.

But there are 50+ young men in Maynooth who are potential gay sex addicts!



Each one of you individually and all of you collectively are responsible for what is happening in Maynooth.

What are you doing about this scandal just now?

What are you going to do?

Or are you just a bunch of unprincipled cowards and anti Christs?

Or are you compromised yourself?

Are some of you Grindr devotees?


The whole country, the whole Church, the whole world is watching you now.

This moment - this issue - defines WHO and WHAT you are!


Wednesday, 27 July 2016


MAYNOOTH - VAMA - PROGRESS  083 831 3151

THE MAYNOOTH SEMINARY GAY SCANDAL is attracting unprecedented numbers of daily viewers to this Blog.

The reason for this is because an increasing number of people - lay people, seminarians, ex seminarians and priests are genuinely concerned at what has been and is happening at the national Catholic seminary.

The only Irish Catholic bishop that has expressed real concern about this situation is the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. 

Archbishop Martin has been taking some action in recent times by withdrawing Dublin seminarians from Maynooth and this week he made it clear that by next years he will have NO seminarians at Maynooth.

Surely that fact that the Archbishop of Dublin is withdrawing all his seminarians from the seminary is a clear sign that he has NO CONFIDENCE in the seminary and its formation?

If it were up to him I imagine that Maynooth would be at least temporarily closed for a total revamp.

The problem is that Maynooth is the NATIONAL seminary and the body of Irish Bishops - all 28 of them - do not seem to care about the situation or fully understand the gravity of the situation there.


Over the past week we have received information that has convinced us that there is a sizeable "gay cabal" among Maynooth seminarians that crosses all 6/7 formation years. This cabal are sexually active with each other, sexually active with priests and others outside the seminary and are targeting young seminarians entering Maynooth.

We have been given the names of both seminarians and priests who were or still are part of this Maynooth scandal.

Some priests who were part of the problem in Maynooth are still part of the problem are are still inviting seminarians out for meals and drinks and sending money on them and inviting them to questionable "parties". 

We believe that some seminarians have or have had Grindr accounts and a number of these people have panicked and closed their Grindr accounts in recent times.

Our attention has been drawn to one individual, a former seminarian, but who still works in the wider Catholic religious sector who had been very active on Grindr and has closed his account. 

The number of Irish Catholic priests on Grindr is in the HUNDREDS.

A small number of priests who have been sexually active or who have been on Grindr have approached us and offered us the names and details of other priests on Grindr in return for us promising to keep them completely out of the equation. They have told us that they are determined to change their lifestyles from now on. 

While the media in general have not yet gone to press with this scandal we understand that one or two journalists have a lot of knowledge about this situation and are ready to strike when the firing pistol has been activated by someone else. 

Archbishop Martin has been made aware of a small number of individuals in his diocese - seminarians and priests - who cause concern.

All of this, of course, is, at this stage, an information and evidence gathering project. 

We definitely need to highlight and expose the individuals who are problematic. 

But we also need to be careful not to accuse innocent people.

Furthermore we are conscious that some people, in order to deflect attention from themselves, are trying to hang others out to dry and in some cases giving inaccurate or untruthful information - designed to put those looking into this on the wrong trail.

This will not work. In recent days we have been fortunate enough to receive offers of help from professionals in this area and that will help us, hopefully, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This is NOT a witch hunt.

This is about reforming Maynooth.

Anyone who contacts us will have the assurance of confidentiality.

We will also be very sensitive to those who through immaturity or inexperience have been drawn into the Maynooth cabal and who genuinely wants to get out of its clutches. Such people have absolutely nothing to fear.

We are all human. We have all made mistakes. We have all been led astray by more cynical people.

This is about exposing and eradicating the puppet masters - and not those unfortunate to have found themselves being puppets.

As a Christian and a priest of 40 years standing I promise that no sincere person will be hurt by this project.



My source in Armagh has just informed me ARCHBISHOP EAMON MARTIN has TODAY sent Father Rory Coyle to a PRIVATE SEX ADDICTION CLINIC in the USA.

Archbishop Martin is hoping for a "cure" so that he can reuse him in Armagh.

As we speak Rory is en route to the clinic.

We will bring you updates as we receive them

My TWITTER feed is up and running today @BishPatrick

Tuesday, 26 July 2016



AS PROMISED on this Blog yesterday I have spoken with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and have passed on to him everybody's concerns about both Maynooth and Dublin seminarians and priests connected with what I call the MAYNOOTH SYNDROME.

I know that some of you in your comments have been critical of Diarmuid Martin and have claimed that he cares as little about these problems as the rest of the Irish Bishops appear to.

I might be wrong or proved wrong but at the moment I TRUST AND BELIEVE IN DIARMUID MARTIN.

He is obviously very concerned about Maynooth - particularly in so far as it affects his own seminarians and priests in DUBLIN.

But Diarmuid Martin is faced with a number of difficulties:

1. In order to act about an accusation about a priest or seminarian he needs both information and evidence.

2. When a seminarian or a priest is accused Diarmuid Martin has to give them due process. In other words he must allow them to answer allegations.

3. We have already discovered and highlighted the fact that Diarmuid Martin is not liked by most if not all of the other Irish bishops. This leaves him in a very lonely position when it comes to tackling Maynooth and other problems. In fact he has said that he is "barely tolerated in Maynooth".

4. Diarmuid Martin is in the process of withdrawing ALL his seminarians from Maynooth and by next year he will have NO seminarian in Maynooth. What greater sign could we have that Maynooth is not fit for purpose.

In Ireland we have 28 bishops who sit on the Bishop's Conference - 26 diocesan bishops and two Dublin auxiliaries.

Diarmuid Martin is the senior and most respected Irish Catholic bishop. He is the vice president of the Bishop's Conference.

Technically Eamon Martin of Armagh is more senior in an honorary way. But we all know that Eamon Martin is a lightweight when it comes to courage and leadership.


Diarmuid Martin, who may not be perfect, has leadership qualities. He is taken seriously by the Irish people.

In fact I hope that Pope Francis will make Diarmuid Martin a cardinal at the next consistory. There is a precedent for this with Cardinal Paul Cullen and Cardinal Desmond Connell.

Large studies of homosexuality in the seminary have been carried out in the USA. Below is a film from a right wing Catholic group about the topic.

I include it for your information.




But back to our topic - I would urge you all to supply Diarmuid Martin with all the information and evidence you have about Maynooth, seminarians and priests in order to enable him to act.

I can guarantee you that any information you submit to this Blog or to me personally will be passed directly on.



TEL: ROI: 01 5133199

TEL: OUTSIDE ROI:  003531 5133199 or 0044 7900 287283

Monday, 25 July 2016



DIARMUID MARTIN is probably the best known of the Irish Catholic Bishops and is a frequent contributor to the media. 

Like a lot of public figures and people who appear in the media Diarmuid Martin is either LIKED or NOT LIKED. There is no in between. Nobody is neutral about him.

Journalists and media people like him because he is outspoken and honest. He does not hide behind platitudes or sound bites. He answers the questions he is asked and if he does not want to answer he says that.

Victims of church and clerical abuse like him because he has listened to them and has believed them. He has taken them seriously and has done his best for them here in Ireland and in Rome. 


A large number of the priests of Dublin archdiocese DO NOT like him. They seem to think that he is remote from them. They seem to think that he does not consent them enough. And many have not forgiven him for demanding the resignation of the two Dublin auxiliary bishops over the abuse scandal - Bishop Eamon Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field. Even though Diarmuid Martin asked them to tender their resignations to Rome - Rome refused to accept the resignations. So in effect Walsh and Field have been two lame duck bishops ever since. One wonders what they do with their time? Maybe they have taken up crocheting or knitting?


The other Irish bishops do not like Diarmuid Martin. This is most on display when the bishops meet in Maynooth for their quarterly meetings. While their Graces and Lordships head for the Pugin Hall (or wherever) to wine and dine on the finest, Diarmuid takes a walk out to Maynooth village and has a bit of lunch in a local cafe. 

When asked about the bishops and Maynooth he is on record as saying: "I'm barely tolerated in there".

What a strange and sad thing to say - especially when you consider that Maynooth is actually in Diarmuid Martin's own archdiocese!


This Blog recently announced that Diarmuid Martin was withdrawing his seminarians from Maynooth. And he is. But that is not a recent decision on his part. I believe that he has been concerned about Maynooth for a long time now and his decision to remove his seminarians is therefore not just a recent decision.

But it is an extremely wise decision. 

Maynooth seminary, like any institution run and inhabited by human beings, has had and increasingly has serious issues. 

I personally know a priest who is now in his 80's who used to sneak his girlfriend into Maynooth in the late 1950's and have sex with her in his room. At that time there seemed to be a healthy mix of heterosexual and homosexual students - and I think that the majority then were hetero.

But increasingly Maynooth, like the priesthood in general, has become a gay entity. In fact I would hazard a guess and say that heterosexual seminarians in Maynooth today are as scarce as hen's teeth. Most of the seminarians there today are "Friends of Dorothy". In fact if Dorothy went to visit Maynooth today she would receive a welcome normally reserved to popes and cardinals. 

Of course there is nothing wrong (in my view) of being a Friend of Dorothy. There is even nothing wrong with a Roman Catholic seminarian or priest being a Friend of Dorothy. 

But Roman Catholic seminarians and priests have ANOTHER BIG HURDLE to get over if they want to be SEXUALLY ACTIVE Friends of Dorothy. 

And that HURDLE is that the RC Church binds them to CHASTITY and to CELIBACY and they have promised to be both CHASTE and CELIBATE.

And then we have the problem that many Maynooth seminarians and priests have an app on their mobile phones called GRINDR.

An Irish bishop recently spoke to me about Grindr and called is a BODY HUNTING APP.

And he is right is he not? Grindr is not about looking for love. Grindr is about looking for no strings attached gay sex. 

Grindr is not about lonely people looking for affection and companionship. It is about a sexually aroused man looking for another sexually aroused man to have sex with.

Grindr is not about beginning a temporary or life journey with someone. Its about F*** AND GO. 

To me that is very different than a seminarian, a priest or even a lay man seeking love and companionship and being involved in a committed ONE TO ONE relationship with another person. And even though this second One To One is officially against Catholic Church teaching it is a totally different scenario to BODY HUNTING or about the promiscuous compulsion that sees other men as simple MEAT to be consumed!

Seminarians and priests on Grindr is no longer a ONE DIOCESE problem as we saw when Father Rory Coyle of Armagh was found on Grindr.

Why is Archbishop EAMON Martin leaving Father Rory Coyle's picture on the Armagh Parish website when he already gone away on a "time of reflection"?

Surely he does not plan to put Rory back in Armagh Parish???

After the Armagh Grindr shock we moved to a Grindr cleric in the Province of Munster

Sadly for Arcbishop Diarmuid the latest Grindr scandal priest - is a priest of Dublin - Father Chris Derwin - who in good faith Diarmuid ordained just 12 months ago having been assured by the Maynooth staff that he was suitable for ordination!


Archbishop Martin had appointed him curate of Balbriggan in North Dublin - but now has to move him again to ??????????

I spoke to Balbriggan parishioners this morning and they have been told that Father Derwin is being moved because he is "not getting on with the PP - Fr Eugene Taffe.


I was in seminary with Eugene Taffe and I always found him a pleasant and agreeable man. I would be amazed if he has become either a grumpy or difficult PP. 

Connaught has not being represented of Grindr yet.


I imagine that Diarmuid Martin is concerned about seminarians and priests being on Grindr. 

Are any of the other Irish bishops concerned about seminarians and priests being on Grindr?

If they are - they have not said so.

Maybe more cynical than me might ask the question: "Are these bishops themselkves compromised in such a way?

Before we rush to say - "Surely not" - let us remember Cardinal Keith O'Brien who had to step aside not so long ago over inappropriate behaviour with seminarians and priests.


As Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is removing his seminarians from Maynooth he will not have to be concerned about his own seminarians and the "Maynooth Syndrome".

But Maynooth is in his diocese. And before God he is the Father of the souls who are in Maynooth. In that sense he has vital, if not canonical, responsibility for them.

I expect he already is painfully aware of that - and I'm sure he will not be found wanting.   

I trust in his integrity.


ROI: 083 831 3151  NON ROI: 00353 83 8313151


Sunday, 24 July 2016



This week saw an important coming together, for the first time of some members of VAMA - VOICES AGAINST MAYNOOTH ABUSE.

We also launched our simple LOGO - above

There are THREE things planned to take place now and in the near future.

1. A FIRST PROTEST - on a date to be decided involving members of VAMA and other concerned Catholic organisations and individuals.

2. A SECOND PROTEST - on a date soon after that by the same groups and individuals and hopefully others.

3. The launch of a MAYNOOTH REPORT.

This MAYNOOTH REPORT will be very important. It will consist of the following:

A. SUBMISSIONS / STATEMENTS we have already received from ex seminarians, seminarians, seminarian family members, former staff members and priests.

Those individuals who have submitted submissions / statements and who wish to have their names used will have their will have their wishes fulfilled.

Those individuals who have submitted submissions / statements and who wish NOT to have their names used will be referred to by a pseudonym - as in the Ferns, Bloyne reports etc.

B. SUBMISSIONS / STATEMENTS received from now onwards - again respecting people's wishes to be named or not.

C. ARTICLES PUBLISHED over the past number of years by respected people who have been concerned about Maynooth.



VAMA plans to launch its completed report at a press conference and also send copies to people it regards as relevant and also submit the report to the statutory authorities.

Any submissions / statements it has received / will receive, that VAMA considers has legal  or criminal implications will be referred to the Garda. 


This past week VAMA's attention was drawn to an alleged letter circulating in certain quarters in Maynooth naming a number of people who were at the centre of sexual activities within the college. 

Its attention was also drawn to the alleged author (s) of that letter and how they were dealt with by the seminary and by some named bishops. 

There have also been a number of people in touch with VAMA who have made various accusations against various people and these are being examined and studied at the moment by us and by one or two professional people who have offered VAMA their services. 

In that context this Blog received the following comment today:

"I'm not going to name names. But there is a young, recently ordained ******* priest who is currently on Grindr who likes to add young men, some are younger than the legal age" 

My response to the person who left this comment is:

"Friend, I have no reason to doubt you. If what you say is true, and if there are minors even remotely involved, please let us have the priest's name and it will placed in the right hands.

You can email me on:

Or VAMA on vamaunited

Or, if you do not want to reveal your email address send the details as an anonymous comment to the Blog. I will not publish names and details but will place the information where it needs to be places. 


My Friends,

We in the Church have experienced a whirlwind of abuse over the past number of years.

Much abuse by priests starts in the seminary.

MAYNOOTH has been problematic in this regard for a very long time.

We NOW have a chance to STOP this ONCE AND FOR ALL.

WE in VAMA and in other organisations will do the fighting FOR YOU.


PLEASE, in the name of Jesus Christ, help us by contacting us.

Pat - straight through to Pat. - will be received by an ex seminarian

ROI: 083 831 3151     OUTSIDE ROI: 00353 83 831 3151 - answered by ex seminarian

Saturday, 23 July 2016



In order to understand the current Maynooth homosexual sex scandal we need context. That context really comes from the USA where it has been studied more.

This article ib by Richard Sipe.

What he says about US seminaries is true of MAYNOOTH.


Aquinas Walter Richard Sipe (born December 11, 1932, in Robbinsdale, MN), USA is a former Benedictine monk-priest of 18 years, a sociologist and author of six books about Catholicism and the sexual abuses arising from the Catholic Church's requirements of celibacy. He is an American Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor trained specifically to deal with the mental health problems of Roman Catholic priests. He practiced psychotherapy, "taught on the faculties of Major Catholic Seminaries and colleges, lectured in medical schools, and served as a consultant and expert witness in both civil and criminal cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests". During his training and therapies, he conducted a 25-year ethnographic study published in 1990 about the sexual behavior of supposed celibates, in which he found more than half were involved in sexual relationships. In 1970, after leaving the priesthood, Sipe married a former nun, Marianne; they have one son together.

Sipe has been a witness in more than 57 lawsuits, testifying on behalf of victims of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

When I taught theological students what was called “Practical Theology” (how to be a pastor) in the 1970s, I counseled them that one rule of thumb for their behavior was: Don’t do anything that you would not want published on the front page of the New York Times.
Of the several hundred clerical students I taught between 1967 and 1984 (and into the 1990s) some of them disregarded that piece of folk wisdom. Several of my students have made the pages of the NYT more than once. No need to add coals to the fire by naming names. Too many people know their stories—sex abuse of minors and prison; embezzling parish funds (by the millions) and flaunting a lifestyle with a big car, a boat, a big city pad, and a boyfriend. That kind of behavior from a parish pastor will get the attention of the newspapers. They had photos.
What effects does seminary training have on its students? It is meant to develop competent, responsible, and spiritually mature priests. Several times prelates (Daniel Pilarczyk among them) have reassured me that the seminary system does just that. I have long protested that this goal is not reached in regard to celibacy.

I say celibacy is not taught in seminaries. And priest after priest agrees that celibacy was not given consideration in their seminary training. Rectors respond: you can’t teach celibacy; that the whole system of study and discipline—spiritual direction—inculcates knowledge and experience of celibate living. Not so.
Monsignor Helmut Hefner, currently rector of Los Angeles’s seminary at Camarillo, California, graduated from the same institution in 1969 where he said, “Sexual issues were taboo” during his time as a student. He now holds that “any problems of immaturity, sexual and otherwise have disappeared” because today’s student body is half foreign-born with an average age of 34 years. As if men from other countries are better equipped to be celibate and age alone assures maturity.  Not so. 
Talk about wishful thinking, denial or self-delusion! Take your pick, but the continuation of a refusal to face squarely the need for a serious, series of courses and open and honest discourse on sex and celibacy within seminary training is close to criminal.

On July 20, 2007 the LA Times published a long article under the banner Trail of Abuse Leads to Seminary.1. It is classic because it is a piece of history that could have been written about any one of number of seminaries I know of. It outlines the system that selects, trains, and hides sexual activity of men that can and sometimes does end in sexual abuse of minors and the vulnerable. As of 2004 these are the recorded numbers:
10 percent of the (Camarillo) graduates ordained have been accused of molesting minors.2.
30 percent of the graduating classes of 1966 and 1972 have been accused of molesting minors.
11.5 percent of the LA priests active in 1983 were subsequently reported for abuse.3.
75 percent of all the LA parishes have had at least one priest-abuser on its staff and some parishes had 5 to 8 on their staff.4.
Remember these figures only represent priests who have sexually abused minors. But the figures raise three important questions. Certainly most priests do not abuse children, but would it not be presumptuous to think that these men are the only priests who have sexual activity after their graduation? Some priests have affairs with women or men, some priests father children, some priests masturbate or use pornography, etc. in ways that are not illegal.
Second, the figures are telling. As more and more evidence comes out the more accurate percentages of clergy abusing minors appear to be between and 9 and 11 percent. This is considerably more than the 4.3 percent (or between 3 and 6 percent) recorded by the John Jay Survey5. or the less than the .02 percent claimed by the Vatican in 2002.6.
Third, what if anything, do seminaries that should be the principle training ground for celibacy, do to undermine or neglect that goal? “The John Jay survey determined that the quarter-century from 1960 through 1984 was particularly troublesome for alleged abuse by clerics nationwide.”7. Records show that 15 percent of priests who graduated (from Camarillo) during that period and served in LA were accused of sexual abuse.
Many men (and priests) have written to record their experience or observations about their seminary training: 
I want to add more information about my abuser to your records.  His name is Fr. James Tully, a Xavarian missionary priest, and an American citizen.  We met when I was in the seminary in Milwaukee and he was on the staff.  He sexually assaulted me during the two years I was in formation. It was a well-guarded secret until ten years after I left religious life.  As I matured and understood the dynamics of that relationship with a seminary professor, I became increasingly concerned about his ability to exploit other students.  I reported what happened to me to my former provincial.  He was not surprised. He supported my claims.  He shared with me Jim’s situation.
I made an out-of-court settlement with the order in 2005. They initiated the settlement.  I have no confidentiality agreement, however they had a specific request that I would have no further contact with any member of the community.  In some ways, this seems like an excommunication and highlighted more than ever what the institutional church is all about.  (signed: WN)
Pringle’s LA Times article quotes the testimony of a number of former students, both those who say they knew or observed nothing sexual going on in the seminary and others who observed small groups who “dressed up in nuns’ clothes,” and those who claim they could not use the bathroom some nights “because it was occupied by men having sex.”
Another former student at Camarillo thought that many of his fellow students were chaste at the same time “there was a great deal of sexual activity among students. I saw it, and yes, I participated in it,” he admitted. He went on to say, “It was like shooting fish in a barrel to seduce somebody there,” adding that one learned how to hide it. The estimation of sex at the LA seminary is not unique. A reliable source (a judge) reported that the reputation of a seminary in Baltimore was reflected in what gay men had said before the bench: “You can pick up a trick there any time of day or night.”


Pringle’s investigation results raise the questions: was the administration “ignorant about sex on campus or turned a blind eye to it”? Or another question: did they tolerate or create there a culture of permissiveness?
I have interviewed scores of men who left seminaries because they were sexually harassed or abused by a faculty member or a fellow seminarian. I have also worked with men who went on to ordination after they were involved sexually with a seminary professor. In some instances the sexual activity started even before the man entered the seminary. Others continued the relationship after ordination and into their parish assignments. It is possible, and even easy, to trace coteries—small exclusive groups—of priests who share the same sexual interests, proclivities, activities, and partners.8.
I became aware of a seminary where fully one-fourth of the faculty members were involved in long term sexual activities—some in stable relationships with women, others with lay men or other priests. Some of the faculty dallied with students taking them to what could be called the “combat zone.” In Washington, D.C. the area of gay and straight bars, pornography shops equipped with “glory holes,” and pick-up sites (meat racks) was along 14th Street and the Dupont Circle.
A few faculty priests partied here where some staff members of the USCCB hung out. A number of up-scale gay bars and restaurants in the Georgetown/DC area were notorious “watering holes” of highly placed priests from the chancery office and houses of study for religious orders. This atmosphere and social activity created a sense of permissiveness condoned by authority; and even more seductive, it excited the feeling of being on the “in” with the movers and shakers of the U.S. church.
Partying was not confined to excursions beyond the seminary walls. In-house parties were held regularly in the 1970s and 80s on campuses where “dress-up” (in women’s clothing and makeup) was welcomed. Girls’ names were assigned to each other and some faculty.
These activities and their regularity might have been underground, in the sense of not being officially sanctioned, but they were certainly well known to anyone who had an interest in seminary life. It was difficult not to be aware, even for those faculty and students who had no inclination to participate. First hand experiences were circulated not only by and within the clerical community, but also occasionally a surprised and embarrassed cleric or layperson was invited, and later reported the scene with outrage.
Pontifical seminaries in the United States were baptized “pink palaces” because homosexual activity was so common in them. Did bishops know? Yes. In fact, some bishops and cardinals are well known for their sexual activity with seminarians and young priests. A number of my former students have related the difficulty they have had in fending off the sexual advances of their superiors.
Why is this covered up? Where is a priest who wants to stay in his ministry to go with complaints of sexual harassment from his boss—a bishop or cardinal? To go outside the clerical system will make him a pariah or destroy his ministry altogether. Within the system there is no recourse. I have talked to priests who have been sexually assaulted by a bishop or cardinal. The common response of the superior is “who will believe you?” (Does that sound familiar?) One highly placed church official who had sex with a young priest even threatened to expose the priest and to “sue” him if he went public.
The church is a formidable and powerful adversary.9. Its history of martyrs and excommunications is testimony to the church’s intolerance of critics within the ranks who dissent.

A priest who got himself into serious trouble because he had sex with two teenagers related the story of his path from the seminary to prison. Behind the newspaper headlines there was a story beyond the personal.
When he was a seminarian he was serious and quiet—and naive. He was troubled and uncomfortable when one of the faculty members started to shower him with attention. He spoke to his faculty advisor about his discomfort that was vague; because he had never experienced anything like the mix of feelings he was faced with. He was flattered and intrigued. He was confused and wary without any basis for distrust. His confessor told him he was “too uptight and rigid.” He was counseled to “lighten up” and enjoy friendship. The confessor told him that he would have to be more accessible and warm as a priest.
The seminarian took his advisor’s advice and relaxed, entered into the friendship offered. But the priest courted and groomed the young seminarian (21 at the time) into a sexual partner of exquisite response. The way he describes his experience one gets the idea of a first love affair with all the trappings of elation and freedom—of being loved and completely accepted.
This love fit into his spiritual striving. At first he felt some guilt, because the pleasure was so intense and surprisingly welcome. Even his confessor was not put off or disapproving when he confessed “sexual feelings.” It was contrary to the teaching he was brought up with that every act even of masturbation was gravely sinful. But his mentor reassured him that love was natural and the friendship God’s will for him. It was private, personal, and secret—shared only with God in his prayers. He felt he was a better person. He knew the priest’s feelings for him were real love.
The relationship lasted only a short time after ordination. The young priest felt abandoned and lonely beyond words. But he was popular, a good preacher, well thought of, and considered a successful young priest. He began, however, drinking alcohol to excess. He had learned to enjoy the comfort of alcohol from his mentor.
When he started to counsel teenaged boys he experienced some of the elation he had felt in the seminary. He developed a strong response first to a 14-year-old who was sad, tense, shy, and self-conscious. In his words he was responding to a pastoral need he saw in the boy who had to be loved and comforted if he were too grow and mature. And the boy did develop well and went to college. The sexual friendship—as he experienced it—lasted for a time, but work and distance diluted the relationship.
Drinking more and more as his loneliness flourished, he found another young man he thought needed his love and support. Of course, he was a skilled seducer; he did what he was taught in the seminary. He was able to rationalize his sexual behavior with his new friend in spite of misgivings about the pastoral appropriateness of his feelings and behavior.
This boy’s experience once he got beyond the confusion of seduction was one of assault and abuse. The priest’s perspective had been seriously distorted by his seminary involvement; he could not name his experience with a priest/professor, abuse. It was so intricately and inextricably interwoven with the clerical system.
When the boy’s family brought the abuse to the attention of civil authorities the priest literally sobered up. But sobriety did not abort court action and a prison term.
I have purposefully told this story from the perspective of the seminarian/victim, priest/perpetrator to show the system of denial, rationalization, prolonged adolescent development, and spiritualizing of sex for what it is—a system of permissiveness.


The confessor, who all defenders of the current seminary system point to as the cornerstone of seminary training, has more power than just advising students about their relationships with others. The confessor has a unique position. Every seminarian is expected to go to confession weekly. He is required to have a designated “confessor” who is to oversee his spiritual development. The confessor is bound to secrecy (he cannot vote on the student at faculty evaluations).
In exchange for the promise of strictest secrecy the student (penitent) agrees to share his most intimate thoughts, concerns—spiritual, vocational, sexual—with the confessor.10.
This relationship of trust can be, and has proved to be perennially a fertile ground for distortion and abuse in which the priest/confessor turns the confidences he receives in that setting to his sexual advantage.11.
I can speak from experience with two confessors in my own monastery. Each was my chosen confessor for more than 4 years. They were the most popular confessors for a majority of the young monks. One was the novice master of almost 20 years standing. The other was the sub-prior —the third in command in the monastery—a canon lawyer, abbot’s secretary, once a rector of the seminary, and latter abbot. Both had impeccable spiritual credentials. They were models—prayerful, scholarly, hard working, sociable and athletic.
My experience with them in confession was unremarkable. They were fair, non judgmental, friendly, and supportive. With confidence, I could have recommended both to others looking for a good confessor.
Others were not so lucky. Later other monks and young priests came to me with tales of abuse. “He fucked me,” one desperate, tearful young priest said of the sub-prior. He went on to describe the trail of seduction from reassurance over sexual thoughts to deconditioning about being nude and laying together and finally to penetration and orgasm. Getting heard took the victim down a long and painful road. “Who could believe?” And several officials chided him for “bearing tales.”
This man’s reputation and positions of authority, and the multitude of other men who came to him for advice and had only a good experience, formed a fire wall of protection that was ready to torch anyone would dare to bridge it with allegations.
But other allegations came to light. Although undeniable, a great deal of time, energy, and in the end money was expended in trying to keep the facts undercover. That process of secrecy was very destructive to many lives. And finally, the process of cover-up contributed to the spread of abuse by other monks.
The story of the novice master was a little different. There were rumors. He was said to “stand close” without any sexual touch, but conveying a certain hard-to-describe feeling. He was reported to “kiss on the lips” and he admitted to some of his close confidants that he “liked to suck ear lobes.”
These were all vague rumblings, passed on or sealed with a wink and a nod by the more experienced monks, but escaped the more pious and oblivious, because the spirituality of the novice master was solidly established. Like the sub-prior who went on to be elected abbot, the majority of the community trusted the reputation rather than rumors.
The novice master went on to pastoral assignments in various local parishes. Years later I was asked to evaluate complaints from young men who alleged abuse by this priest when they were boys. Their stories were consistent and credible. The parents of the men trusted the priest and the monastery with firm religious devotion. Allegations against this priest who enjoyed a reputation for spirituality were difficult to believe even by the parents.
But when the men told their stories that were in perfect consonance with earlier vague rumblings (red flags) it was clear they were telling the truth and that the priest had a problem with relationship boundaries.
First the priest established a supportive relationship with the parents. With the boys he built on a base of trust, confidence, and secrecy established in the confessional. He drew the boys close, was loving and reassuring, won their affection and sucked their ears before he explored their bodies and encouraged them to learn form him and his exposure. Both confessors used the excuse that they were giving their penitents “good education.”
I have counseled many women and men who have been seduced by their confessor.

Many of the priests learned the process during their seminary years. Abuse was introduced under the cover of forgiveness and love. But the familiarity shared in the context of secrecy cannot tolerate examination in the light of day. It feels like love when the intimate sharing of guilt, concern, fear, worry, and failings are confided in the warm and secret confines of a “confessional.” Some priests delude themselves that what the front page of the New York Times would call perverse, predatory, criminal, and abusive, in their estimation participates in the love of Christ.
That’s how they feel about it.
That’s why education for sexuality and celibacy is sorely needed in seminaries today.