Bishops leave Martin isolated in split over Maynooth 'gay culture'
A series of senior bishops have backed the college amid allegations of a "gay culture" in St Patrick's College. Archbishop Martin has withdrawn his trainee priests from Maynooth due to what he described as allegations of a "homosexual, gay culture, that students are using an app called Grindr, a gay dating app".
However, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland will continue to send trainee priests to Maynooth. A spokesman for Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland, told the Irish Independent the Archdiocese was "extremely grateful to St Patrick's College, Maynooth, for the spiritual, human, pastoral and academic formation that he received there".
Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Kieran O'Reilly also says he will send seminarians to Maynooth.
Once again, the national seminary in Maynooth, which has been educating men for the catholic priesthood since 1795, finds itself mired in scandal.
There are currently approximately 80 men studying for the priesthood at Maynooth.
For most of its recent history, Maynooth comprised three colleges in one: the national seminary; St Patrick's College, a pontifical university; and NUI Maynooth, a secular college.
Under the 1997 Universities Act, the seminary and pontifical college formally split from NUIM, giving it greater autonomy as a secular university.
It was Monsignor Micheál Ledwith, who, in his final year as president of Maynooth, oversaw that separation.
A priest of the diocese of Ferns, Ledwith was first appointed a lecturer in theology at St Patrick's College in 1977.
At just 44, he was made college president. Seen as a future bishop, he was even tipped for the archdiocese of Dublin, before a number of abuse allegations brought his star tumbling to earth.
Ledwith has always denied the allegations.
In a setback for Maynooth, allegations that Ledwith had abused a child exploded just as it was about to launch its bicentenary celebrations and resulted in the president resigning six months early.
It later emerged that as early as 1983-84, Fr Gerard McGinnity, then a senior dean in Maynooth, had made complaints about Ledwith to seven bishops.
The Ferns Report in 2005 noted that the complaints related to alleged homosexual "orientation and propensity" but did not specify any improper conduct.
The then Bishop of Galway, Dr Eamon Casey, conducted a private investigation but as no seminarian came forward to make a complaint, the matter was dropped.
Fr McGinnity was pressured into stepping down from his position while Mgr Ledwith's appointment as president went ahead.
Maynooth again came under scrutiny in 2010, when Pope Benedict XVI ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the Irish Church including an investigation of all Irish seminaries, and St Patrick's College, Maynooth in particular.
As recently as 2011, reports circulated in the Catholic press in Ireland that plans were afoot to close Maynooth as a seminary and move all of the country's trainee priests to the other seminary, which the Irish church operates in Rome.
The decision by one trustee, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, to move his seminarians out of Maynooth this autumn to the Irish College in Rome is causing many to speculate once again about Maynooth's future.
A day after the Irish Independent reported the story of a man who made allegations of inappropriate behaviour at the seminary, he approached gardaí to make a preliminary statement about alleged harassment.
"They certainly felt that a couple of isolated incidents which I mentioned did warrant investigation by them, and would be deemed sexual assault," he said.
"I will be meeting them next week in person to provide a written statement concerning the above."
Later that day, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin described the atmosphere in the National Seminary in Maynooth as "poisonous".
He was speaking on radio yesterday following his decision to pull his trainee priests from Maynooth and send them to Rome instead.
Seminarians currently studying in Maynooth have reportedly resorted to anonymous letters in order to bring their concerns to the attention of the bishops and seminary hierarchy.
Now their allegations have been given a much greater platform with the controversial decision made by Archbishop Martin.
Yesterday, the president of Maynooth, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, moved to emphasise that amid anonymous allegations and claims on blogs, due process has to be adhered to and allegations must be investigated in a thorough and facts-based way.
What the current crisis shows is that the seminary has lost the trust of its student priests who don't feel that the complaints procedure put in place in the wake of the McCullough Report is working for them.
Archbishop Martin claimed he had offered to provide an independent person who whistleblowers could approach with their concerns. However, the response to this offer was the publication of more anonymous letters.
He is clearly frustrated - but so are those making the anonymous complaints. An impartial forum needs to be established that has sufficient distance from the seminary and the bishops to make seminarians and staff feel comfortable.
Meanwhile, the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), usually one of the most trenchant critics of the hierarchy, issued a statement in defence of Maynooth.
Describing those behind the complaints as either conservative commentators who consistently criticise Maynooth for not facilitating the concerns of traditional candidates, or disgruntled ex-seminarians who were deemed unsuitable for priesthood by the seminary, they appear to find the allegations unsound.
They are concerned that "right-wing commentators who are unhappy with the focus on the theology of the Second Vatican Council" are behind these blogs that "consistently attack the Catholic Church".
But perhaps that is too facile. The type of men currently attracted to the priesthood tend to be serious and conservative and would have little truck with the agenda of the ACP. So the fact that some of them are indulging in inappropriate behaviour suggests that something is seriously wrong with the current formation programme.
One thing the ACP is correct on is that "it is important that the highest standards prevail in Maynooth".The damage this controversy will do to Maynooth is only exceeded by the damage it will do to an increasingly disillusioned Catholic faithful, wondering just how many more scandals the Church can withstand.
Not for the first time Archbishop Martin finds himself isolated while others take the ostrich approach.
Maynooth has been known as 'The Pink Palace' for generations. Gay activity is embedded in the entire psyche. To deny the existence of a huge gay sub culture in the church and not just Maynooth does not mean that the issue is not there.
@Mosaic216 Most people could care less, however if you are a priest or training to be a priest, are you not supposed to be heading for a life of celibacy... and take into account the long held views on gay people by the Catholic Church. Its hypocrisy of the highest order.
Isn't compassion one of the tenets espoused by the Catholic Church or is this another example of do as we say not as we do? I don't care one iota if my priest is gay or straight or even a man or a woman. I'm not looking for a date. If the need presented itself I would like to think that I could avail of their council, their wisdom and yes even their compassion, but I would also be discerning because I know priests, just like the rest of us, are only human. Some, God love them, have a distinct lack of those attributes as Dr Martin has clearly demonstrated.
Archbishops row over Maynooth after ‘gay subculture’ claims
Clear division has emerged between the Catholic archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and his fellow archbishops over the suitability of St Patrick’s College Maynooth for training priests.
It came as the authorities at Maynooth said they have “has no concrete or credible evidence of the existence of any alleged ‘active gay subculture’”.
On Monday Archbishop Martin, a trustee at the college, said he had decided not to send Dublin seminarians to Maynooth any longer due to “an atmosphere of strange goings-on there”.
“It seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around. I don’t think this is a good place for students,” Archbishop Martin said.
Dublin seminarians would go to the Irish College in Rome instead, he said.
However, in response to queries from The Irish Times, the three other archbishop trustees at Maynooth disagreed.
Catholic primate Archbishop Éamon Martin, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, and Archbishop of Cashel Kieran O’Reilly all intend to continue sending seminarians to Maynooth.
So too do the bishops of Elphin, Cork and Ross, Down and Connor, Ardaghand Clonmacnoise, Cloyne, Kildare and Leighlin, Clonfert, Clogher, andKillala.
The offices of all diocesan bishops were emailed. Some bishops are away with replies yet to be received from others.
St Patrick’s College Maynooth yesterday said it shared “the concern” of Archbishop Martin about the “poisonous atmosphere” created by anonymous correspondence and blogs.
It encouraged people “with specific concerns to report them appropriately”.
It follows anonymous allegations being circulated about seminarian activities in Maynooth, including that some had been using a gay dating app.
“As outlined clearly in the Seminary Rule, any student involved or promoting such behaviour would be asked to leave the seminary formation programme,” it said.
Anonymous correspondence “did not allege misbehaviour by any staff member” at the college, it said.
A former Maynooth seminarian has in recent days made a complaint to the Garda in Dublin about alleged sexual harassment at the college between 2007 and 2009.
In relation to that case, the college said an “independent panel did not find any prima facie case to be answered”.
The statement said it was “not true that seminarians are prohibited from reporting misbehaviour or concerns”.
As to what it was proposed to do to address the controversy, the statement said it “has been investigated and a report presented to the trustees”.
Maynooth’s opaque culture major part of problem
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is clearly frustrated with history of controversy
about 9 hours ago
Of Maynooth, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said:“I don’t think this is a good place for students .” Photograph: Cyril Byrne
‘The closed strange world of seminaries,’ was how Archbishop Diarmuid Martin put it yesterday, when speaking of the latestMaynooth crisis. There is no doubt that the opaque culture of such institutions has contributed greatly to the latest controversy besetting Ireland’s national seminary.
“Maynooth is 200 years old. It has a long tradition and a proud tradition but I feel that for the situation in Dublin we probably need a different way in the long term,” the archbishop said.
O tempora! O mores! (Oh the times! Oh the customs!) It is already clear, whatever the reaction of other bishops, that nothing can be the same again if Maynooth is to retain the confidence of Irish Catholics.
When a trustee at Maynooth such as Archbishop Diarmuid Martin publicly articulates in such forthright terms his anxieties about what has been going on there, action will be forced on his fellow trustee archbishops and bishops to act. But venerable institutions are notoriously difficult to change, as has been seen with the Catholic Church itself. Old customs/practices die very hard.
In 2002 this newspaper disclosed how a senior dean at Maynooth, Fr Gerard McGinnity, had his career destroyed. Acting as whistleblower on behalf of senior seminarians in 1983/84, he alerted trustee bishops at St Patrick’s College to allegedly inappropriate behaviour involving then college vice-president Msgr Micheál Ledwith and younger seminarians . Msgr Ledwith went on to become president but resigned suddenly in 1994. In 2002 a statement from the bishops admitted Msgr Ledwith had made a private settlement with a minor who claimed he was sexually abused by him.
In 1984 Fr McGinnity was sent on sabbatical to Rome before being appointed to a rural parish in the North. He was never allowed hold another post in Maynooth while the man whose alleged activities he attempted to expose was promoted to one of the most senior positions in the Irish Catholic church.
There is an uneasy parallel between how the Maynooth authorities dealt with Fr McGinnity and how another whistleblower was dealt with there more recently. It is one of the main stories behind the current crisis. In this instance a seminarian, and late vocation, made allegations of ongoing sexual harassment by an adult at the college between his entering in 2007 and 2009, when he made the complaint.
An internal inquiry found his allegations unproven and he was invited by college authorities to move on and continue with his studies. He has told The Irish Times that he felt so aggrieved at the process of the inquiry and its finding, that he left Maynooth depressed and disillusioned. He has since married. He further alleged that after he left the college a seminarian who witnessed an incident of his alleged harassment and four others who were friends of his at Maynooth, also left following dealings with authorities.
Serious questions were also raised about the fairness of a more recent inquiry which led to another seminarian’s dismissal. Last April/May he faced bully- ing complaints by two fellow seminarians he allegedly had found in bed together.
Unrelated to the allegations above, and the recent allegations of sexual misconduct, two senior departures also added to the disquiet. These included the unexpected resignation of Fr David Marsden, vocational growth counsellor, in June which was said to be related chiefly to his concerns about theological formation. This became an issue last year when six seminarians were advised to take time out as they were deemed too theologically rigid/conservative. Three were allowed continue after their bishops’ intervention.
In June it also emerged that president Msgr Hugh Connolly was granted leave of absence for study purposes. What made this seem odd was its timing, asMsgr Connolly is due to end his term as president next year. It was emphasised that his going on sabbatical was unrelated to recent events and he would continue his duties as president into 2017 when, at the conclusion of his sabbatical, he would return as professor of moral theology.
Clearly, cumulatively, this has all proven too much for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin which, combined with his own frustrated attempts to have something done about it all, would appear to have prompted his decision to send future Dublin seminarians to the Irish College in Rome. Of Maynooth he said:“I don’t think this is a good place for students .”
An irony in this is that the Irish College in Rome was eviscerated by the Cardinal Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan when he led an apostolic visitation in 2011. In his report, leaked to The Irish Times , he found the college had an “anti-ecclesial bias” in theological formation; it was not orthodox enough. He described as injustice a perception that the Rome college had a reputation as “gay-friendly”. Detailing four alleged incidents, he found no evidence “of rampant immorality, or a homosexual subculture”. Since then all priests/staff at the Irish College in Rome in 2011 have been replaced.
The cardinal’s report on Maynooth was never published or leaked but a recommendation in a published summary was that “the seminary buildings be exclusively for seminarians of the local church” and it was said he was concerned about theological formation there . In January 2012 doors were installed at St Patrick’s College separating seminarians’ living quarters from the rest of the campus and a new entrance was constructed. A separate dining room was set up for seminarians.
Behind all of this lie ongoing concerns at the financial viability of the two seminaries at Maynooth and Rome. In March 2011 Msgr Connolly denied speculation that Maynooth was to close. In 2012 Archbishop Diarmuid Martin raised concerns about the future of the Irish College in Rome, to which Dublin priest Msgr Ciaran O’Carroll had just been appointed rector.
“The big question the visitation never addressed was how can Ireland at the moment maintain two seminaries,” Archbishop Martin told The Irish Timesthen. “Where are we going to get the students for it? If it’s going to be a vibrant seminary then you need the candidates.”
Trainee Catholic priests are 'hooking up using gay dating app Grindr at Ireland's top seminary'
· Priests at St Patrick's College in Maynooth were allegedly using Grindr
· Dublin's archbishop said the app 'fostered promiscuous sexuality'
· Said that seminary is dismissing people who make gay dating claims
PUBLISHED: 20:32, 2 August 2016 | UPDATED: 01:56, 3 August 2016
Trainee Catholic priests have been meeting up using the gay dating app Grindr at Ireland's top seminary, it has been claimed.
Dublin's archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin said he was 'somewhat unhappy' about rumours that students at St Patrick's College in Maynooth were using the app, which he claimed 'fostered promiscuous sexuality'.
The church leader will boycott the centuries-old college - which is just 16 miles from the Irish capital - and send students to a school in Rome instead.
Dublin's archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has confirmed he will stop sending trainee priests to Ireland's main Catholic college amid claims of a gay dating culture there
The most senior Catholic in the Irish Republic said he made the decision some months ago because of an 'atmosphere that was growing in Maynooth' exposed through anonymous accusations in letters and online blogs.
He said: 'There are allegations on different sides.
'One is that there is a homosexual, a gay culture, that students have been using an app called Grindr, which is a gay dating app, which would be inappropriate for seminarians, not just because they are trained to be celibate priests but because an app like that is something which would be fostering promiscuous sexuality, which is certainly not in any way the mature vision of sexuality one would expect a priest to understand.'
Claims were made that the seminary were dismissing anyone who tried to make an allegation about a gay culture there.
Dr Diarmuid Martin said he was 'somewhat unhappy' about rumours that students at St Patrick's College in Maynooth (pictured) have been using gay dating app Grindr, which he believed 'fostered promiscuous sexuality'
Dr Martin told RTE: 'I thought a quarrelsome attitude of that kind was not the healthiest place for my students to be and I decided to send them to the Irish Pontifical College (in Rome).'
Founded in 1795, Maynooth College was once the largest seminary in the world.
It was built to train 500 trainee Catholic priests every year but numbers have nosedived to about 60 in recent years with a fall-off in vocations.
While Dr Martin has decided to send student priests from the Dublin Archdiocese overseas instead, he insisted he was not ordering other Bishops to do likewise.
However, the Archbishop said a 'whole series of anonymous allegations' were being circulated about goings-on at the Maynooth seminary.
While 'some material has resulted to be true', he added that it was impossible to fairly investigate and carry out due process while those making claims remained anonymous.
The most senior Catholic in the Irish Republic will boycott the centuries old college - just 16 miles from the Irish capital - in favour of the Irish Pontifical College in Rome (pictured)
Efforts by him to recruit an independent person who could deal with whistleblower complaints were met with 'simply more anonymous letters' he said.
'A culture of anonymous letters is poisonous and until that is cleared up I would be happier sending my students elsewhere,' he added.
Dr Martin said authorities at Maynooth needed to find a way people could come forward with 'solid, hard evidence'.
The senior catholic leader also criticised the 'comfortable' regime at the seminary.
'The people have their breakfast, dinner and tea served up to them,' he said
Today we see the COWBOYS – the Irish Bishops and the Association of Catholic Priests CIRCLING THE WAGONS.
|IRISH BISHOPS AND ACP - ASSOCIATION OF CAT LICKS PRIESTS|
The ACP are covering up for all their priest members who are shagging women and men!
I know many of their names!
Soundbites ! Soundbites ! Soundbites !
I know many of their names!
Soundbites ! Soundbites ! Soundbites !
No one believes you - YOU DISHONEST, COWARDLY COWBOYS
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin is the only prophet and decent bishop in the country.
Diarmuid Martin is the GERONIMO !
He has the COWBOYS ON THE RUN !!!!!