Monday, 18 July 2016







"I am an Irish ex-seminarian and I feel the need and responsibility to communicate my experiences in seminary to the readers of this blog and all of those interested.

I do not feel the need to declare my sexual orientation - which I think is my own private business.

I went into the seminary fully knowing that the Church expected to to be a celibate and chaste man. I accepted this as part of my call to priesthood and during my time in the seminary I never once broke my pledge to be celibate and chaste. 

I was shocked to discover that in the seminary that many of my fellow seminarians were not only gay - but actively gay. I saw this first hand. 

Even though I was determined to stay celibate and chaste there was huge pressure exerted on me to become part of the actively gay group. 

I refused - not because I was better than anyone - but because I took my commitment 100% seriously. 

I also regarded what they were doing as gravely sinful and I was not prepared to engage in activity that was gravely sinful.  

When I resolutely refused to be part of this active gay group I was subjected to sexual harassment and bullying.

I had sexually explicit notes and letters pushed under my room door at night time.

My underwear was stolen from the laundry room and I never got it back.

I received gay messages and had my door banged in the early hours of the morning.

I was invited to visit gay clubs and pubs by other seminarians and by one priest staff member.

The pressure on me was so intense I was driven to breaking point.

I also observed other things that were happening around me in the seminary.

I heard the noise of fellow seminarians having sex with each other through my room walls.

I saw one seminarian in a public place near the seminary having anal sex with a lay man.

I saw one seminarian looking at pornographic images in the seminary on a computer and on one occasion I was even worried that some of the images he was looking at were of underage people. 

Eventually I could take no more. I reported the matter to the proper authorities and even to one Irish bishop.

The result?

I was asked to leave the seminary and the ones who were sexually active - and whom I reported - were all kept on and eventually ordained. 

Some of them (if not all of them) have gone on to be sexually active priests.

People might be shocked at some of the things they have read on this blog. What you have read here to date in only the tip of the iceberg.

All of this has been bearing heavily on my conscience for a long time.

I now have to choose which church and which priest to go Mass at.

If anybody in the Church takes this blog or Bishop Buckley to court about this issue that will be the last straw for me.

I will stand up in open court and tell the world all I know about seminarians and priests and the Irish Church. 

It will be difficult and embarrassing for me to do so.

But I could not have it on my conscience to sit quietly at home and say and do nothing. 

Ideally I would prefer in someone in the Church - an independent body or person - conducted an full inquiry and I would present my evidence. 

I would urge those who have suffered like me not to stay silent. If we all speak out together we will be strong and believed. 

I think VAMA is a beginning. I will be in touch with them and provide them with my information - and the names of those who bullied me - and the names of those in black and purple who stood by and did nothing"!


Republic of Ireland:  083 831 3151

Outside ROI:  00353 83 831 3151

Calls answered by ex seminarian.


UK / N IRELAND:  07900 287283

REST: 0044 7900 287283


  1. What can I say! Yes you can hear what is happening next door through the walls. There was a big clear out of the college before I went there in 1981. I was never told the reason for the clear out. On one occasion a colleague nearly peed on me in the night. Nothing sexual. The loo was next door he was pissed and went in the wrong door by mistake. After that I locked my door. He did apologise next day

    1. This blog concerns the years 1998 and 1999.

  2. "Happenings in both seminaries are often inter-changeable" - where is the evidence for this? At least re-state it as something like "Happenings in both seminaries can be similar but not always."

    Plus it might be more prudent to clarify at the top of the article that this report refers to 1998 / 1999.

    1. Thank you for your advice on how to write by blog :-)

      Dates are important.

      So are "personalities".

      So are certain "cross-overs".

      This investigation / project is just at a beginning.

      New information, at present, is coming in on a daily basis.

  3. 1981-1987 I never witnessed anything Was I blind

    1. Maybe you were not "fanciful" - at least to males?

      Maybe you gave off a lot of testosterone :-)

  4. I was wondering, could we not hear from the other side, anonymously of course? What's the attraction of being a gay seminarian nowadays when being "out" is not the problem it was?

    1. Such contributions would be welcome and receive publication.

      Maybe for old-fashioned / repressed Catholics being "out" is still not the place to be?

      Would people put put a gay priest on the priestly pedestal ?

  5. Like Sean Page I studied in Rome during that period and never witnessed any such activity. I was not in the Irish College. Was I naïve??

    Iggy O Donovan

    1. Iggy, I think The Irish College (and perhaps The English College and the Beda) were more "gay" than the Augustinians?

      Maybe Augustinian chastity is stronger?

      Having said that I am quite sure there are Augustinians that do not observe the Vow of Chastity to its full degree?

  6. Was there 2000 - 2007...the same story was "current"...always intrigued by the Brady Bunch

    1. Interesting. It is also interesting that today's story was current in those years.

      Can I ask you - who were the priest staff members during your sourjourn there?

  7. Do you think these stories will be going mainstream shortly? Such happenings confined to a single blog will not bring justice to those who deserve it.

  8. Apologies for LENGTHY BLOG! Regardless of when and where abuse happened the base line is that the formation staff, bishops and senior clergy continue to collude in cover ups, and are rarely held accountable for their evils.
    A few observations on the latest post: I applaud the ex-seminarian for his bravery in writing of his experiences and his commitment to his pledge of celibacy. I presume that in writing his harrowing account he did not supply the inserted graphics. Why was it necessary to insert such graphic imagery at all? In my opinion the imagery serves no valid purpose, it is gratuitous, cheap and vulgar and detracts from the gravity of the allegation. I am not shocked by such visuals, but the blog does not need them to carry the message.
    As a practicing catholic I wonder about the validity of the Sacraments carried out by these sinful clerics. Pope Francis recently took married couples to task saying, “We live in a culture of the provisional,” which causes many couples getting married to say "yes, for the rest of my life!" without knowing what they're committing to, and for that reason "the great majority of sacramental marriages are null". So I wonder would Pope Francis draw the same parallel re his clergy who enter into the sacrament of Holy Orders. These weak, heathen clerics, at all levels, should be at least defrocked, as the vows that they have taken surely are invalid. It is scandalous that they are allowed continue to carry out sacred duties. And they are the ones who have a problem with seminarians being too conservative, Lord save us! Let us not lose sight of those seminarians who were bullied out of Maynooth and the subsequent illogical decision by bishops to send 3 back to the same rotten place. Let’s not forget Fr Bríd Liston and her part in the intimidation of seminarians. The tail wagging the dog! Diarmuid Martin referred to these lads as 'fragile and much more traditional than those who went before them'. Well, those that I know personally are strong young men, but then the bishops don't appear to be able to deal with well adjusted, emotionally mature, questioning, honest men. Obviously he (and our bishops/hierarchy) considers it more accepting to have bullies, liars, inept formation staff/seminary council, actively gay seminarians and clergy in Maynooth instead. They have no conscience or remorse in punishing those who uphold the truth, and will ordain the most despicable.
    A very close family member who is a recent casualty of Maynooth (bullying, intimidation, doctoring of his reports, no support from bishop etc., etc.), on reporting the worrying practices on several occasions to our bishop was advised to 'eat humble pie'!! How satisfying it would be to serve a large slice of same to each and every one of them in prison as part of their just dessert! I’ll pray for them too of course! Your blog and your efforts are commendable Pat, but let us not forget that the crisis in Maynooth is also about the lack of regard and respect for our genuine seminarians and clergy and ultimately for Our Lord and His Mother.

    1. MourneManMichael19 July 2016 at 00:41

      I too find some of the images unnecessary, and detract from the message.
      I say 'some of', for while I can accept the merits of artistic licence and find some humorous and visually pithy, others are unnecessarily verging towards News of the World standards, eg. the first four in the above blog.

  9. I second MBF in relating to the images. They are unnecessary at best.

  10. I have been following the coverage of the Maynooth crisis on and off since summer 2015 - in national papers, in The Irish Catholic, The Catholic Voice, and most recently via Thinking Catholicism.
    As a lay person I am REALLY shocked by what I'm reading and hearing regarding seminarians, and clergy.
    I am reminded of the commandments which are the basic tenets of the Catholic faith.
    'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.'
    Well it seems that there HAS been a lot of false witness going on. E.g. Doctoring of seminarians' end of year reports! And God knows what other reports are doctored!

    'You shall not have strange gods before me.'
    There is definitely evidence of strange gods - power, promotion, lust, lies, etc., etc.
    I second MBF's observation - It is scandalous to me too that priests, bishops [ whoever ] are permitted to continue to carry out sacred duties e.g. sacraments such as confession, last rites, marriage rites, holy orders, ... when many have blatantly disregarded their own vows, and may even be encouraging others to do the same; or they may even have been instrumental in preventing genuine seminarians from following a GOD GIVEN vocation through to completion / ordination.

    A question : Do formation staff, senior clergy, etc. receive ANY or ongoing training on how to deal with allegations of bullying [ or indeed in order to ensure that they themselves are not bullying or intimidating 'co -workers' or people in their care e.g.kangaroo courts for seminarians.
    Employers have a common law duty to take reasonable care to ensure their employees' health and safety at work, including safety from work-related stress. When an employer breaches this duty of care he is liable in negligence.
    An employer can be liable for psychiatric injury caused as a result of stress at work.
    I know that Maynooth Seminary is not exactly an employer - employee set up, and indeed that's how these very dubious practices that have been reported persist. Do the formation team and the bishops not know that employers have a legal duty of care? Do they know but not care, because they are rarely if ever held to account? The culture of deference is still alive and well !
    It would appear to me from what I read in the blogs and comments that there has been A LOT of what [ in employer - employee situations ] would be called work related stress. It would also be called intimidation, bullying, harassment. Take your pick.
    And then to be told by one's bishop to 'eat humble pie'. I am astounded! Is that being responsible for someone in your care? Would that fulfill your duty of care? Well in my place of work it wouldn't! It's nothing short of deplorable.
    Those unfortunate seminarians would indeed need to be robust and resilient.

    To be continued.

  11. Continued .... I am reminded that 'Trócaire [an organisation set up by the Irish Bishops] was established to respond to poverty and injustice in the developing world.' How about 'charity begins at home.'? How about the Irish Bishops / Archbishops develop a moral backbone, and finally deal with the injustice and deceit and other malpractices reported to be happening on their own doorstep, in Maynooth Seminary?
    'For Trócaire, accountability means taking account of our commitment to justice and being an open, responsible and high performing charity. We believe in being transparent about our finances, fundraising and governance.' - taken from Trócaire website.
    How about Irish Bishops etc. show openness and responsibility with regard to what is going on in the Church - in Ireland? How about being committed to being transparent about the governance and unsavoury practices that have been uncovered re. Maynooth S.?
    I could go on. I have so many more questions and observations, but .... the base line is that I am shocked and disillusioned.
    However, I applaud the seminarians and ex-seminarians who are speaking out, and others who have spoken - written on their behalf. You are doing a great service, and THAT gives me hope for the future.
    I send my heartfelt thoughts to those [ past and present ] who have been hurt or 'stymied' by Maynooth Seminary and by all its reported [and substantiated] malpractice/s.