MAYNOOTH - FATHER PAUL PRIOR
|PAUL PRIOR - DIRECTOR OF FORMATION - MAYNOOTH|
ACCUSATIONS OF DEFAMATION
MY READERS will be interested in the email I received yesterday from Blogger - the host of this blog:
6:05 PM (15 hours ago)
Google has been notified that content in your blog contains allegedly infringing content that may violate the rights of others and the laws of their country. The infringing content that has been made unavailable can be found at the end of this message. .
The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Lumen at https://www.lumendatabase.org. You can search for the notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Lumen page, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed.
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The Google Teamhttp://wisecatholic.blogspot.
So, someone, somewhere, seemingly in the UK has written to Blogger to complain that this Blog has "defamed" Father Paul Prior.
Blogger has removed 3 posts about Fr. Prior.
Who was the complainant? Was it Fr Prior himself? Was it his solicitors? Was it Maynooth? Was it the Irish Bishops? Was it Mickey Mouse?
You cannot defame people if what you say is true.
Anything I have said about Father Prior on this Blog was based on information I believe to be true - given to me by ex seminarians of Maynooth - who have also lodged formal complaints to the Garda.
If I have defamed Father Prior why does he not sue me and we could have the whole Father Prior and Maynooth issue sorted out in the High Court in front of the Irish people, the media and all other interested parties.
Or is the plan to have this Blog removed from the Blogosphere?
In any event I will not be scared away from the Maynooth topic and will not stop until we have the THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH out in the open.
I am asking all those interested in the Truth and in the Maynooth Scandal for their full support - please.
PLEASE HELP ME TO STAND UP TO THE POINTY HAT BRIGADE, THE MAYNOOTH MAFIA AND THOSE WHO SUPPORT THEM IN THE DARK SHADOWS.
THE CATHOLIC VOICE:
Maynooth: reviewing the response from the trustees - Anthony Murphy
Smokescreens and denials
The Trustees of the national seminary, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. met on Tuesday, August 23, to “discuss the needs of students and staff”. On Wednesday, a statement was issued which, it may be safely said, is as close as the Trustees will come (or have come) to admitting that there are serious problems with the seminary. Needless to say, despite this admission, many readers will undoubtedly be disheartened by the feet that it has taken almost three months for the Irish bishops to respond in any sort of way to the current crisis in Maynooth.
Many of you wrote to the Archbishop of Armagh, Most Rev. Eamon Martin, before the June meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and the standard response from the Archbishop’s house was that formation of seminarians was a priority for him and his brother bishops. Yet, there was no indication that the matter was seriously discussed at the Bishops’ Conference. Instead, what the faithful — among whom, the bishops now admit, there is disquiet — were dealt was a number of smokescreens and denials. For example, the Archdiocese of Armagh stated in early August that it would continue to support Maynooth Seminary by continuing to send seminarians there. The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Kieran O’Reilly, made a similar statement. The now- Bishop Emeritus of Ossory, Seamus Freeman, stated that, “The Diocese of Ossory continues to have confidence in Maynooth as a place of formation for candidates for the priesthood”. Around the same time, the President of St. Patrick’s College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, was likewise defending the seminary, stating that he believed that there was a “healthy and wholesome atmosphere”. The lone voice in the Irish episcopacy was Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who stated that he believed that there was a poisonous atmosphere in the college – so much so that, as has been widely reported, he decided to withdraw his seminarians from Maynooth and send them to the Irish College in Rome.
The lone voice of Dublin
This lone voice has been proved right and must be commended for taking some sort of action in the face of the controversy which has erupted - although he may not have been in the position to introduce changes to Maynooth on his own initiative, his actions have made a strong statement that all is not well. It must be said, however, that while the Trustees acknowledge that “the recent and extensive media coverage regarding the College, and the disquiet that it has caused amongst the faithful”, there would have been no reason for this media coverage or the resulting disquiet among the faithful if the bishops had listened to those with whose well-being they now appear to be so concerned: their seminarians. As this newspaper has pointed out time and time again, the seminarians studying for the dioceses of these same Trustees have raised complaints year after year about the state of formation in the National Seminary - complaints which have ranged from heterodox teaching, to homosexual behaviour among some seminarians, to unfair and unjust dismissal of seminarians by formation staff.
Deflecting from the Issues
With respect to the Trustees, they appear to be stating the obvious and, in doing so, issues which have caused the present disquiet. The problems in Maynooth have festered precisely because the instructions set forth by the Churhc have not been followed. We must remember too that, while the central document on priestly formation is Pope Saint John Paul II’s Pastores Dabo Vobis, this is by no means the only relevant document. For example, given the more recent controversy of the existence of a homosexual sub-culture in the seminary, the 2005 Vatican document on the admission to holy orders of men with homosexual tendencies is particularly relevant. While the Trustees might say that “there is no place in a seminary community for any sort of behaviour or attitude which contradicts the teaching and example of Jesus Christ" - and there certainly should not be - the fact that the problems with the National Seminary have been in evidence for several years surely leads one to question whether this could always have been the attitude of the trustees. The response of the faithful here, surely, will be: “We know there should not be anything tolerated in seminary which goes against the example of Christ. Our concern stems from the fact that in many respects the seminaryhas departed from Christ’s teaching and example. We would like to know what you are going to do concretely to remedy this”.
The unhealthy atmosphere lit the seminary
The Trustees share the concerns about the unhealthy atmosphere in the seminary. It is comforting to hear that they are sharing the concerns since the problems of the seminary have been exposed in both the Catholic and the secular media. However, this “unhealthy atmosphere” has been created, the Trustees claim, by “anonymous accusations together with some social media comments which can be speculative or even malicious”. This, it seems, indicates that the Trustees simply do not grasp the gravity or the depth of the issues that exist in the seminary and which are of concern to many seminarians, faithful priests, and lay faithful. What the Trustees appear to conveniently ignore is precisely what needs to be addressed if the seminary is to be reformed: namely the nature of the complaints themselves, and the reason why these complaints were made anonymously. There was an unhealthy atmosphere long before a single complaint (anonymous or not) was made - such an atmosphere might be caused by students being concerned that they are not being taught Catholic theology in its fullness; it might be caused by seminarians who are living double-lives.
Refusal to face the underlying issues
With regard to the fact that complaints were made anonymously: while this is certainly not the ideal way to deal with the serious issues which have arisen in the seminary, we need to be looking at the reason why some seminarians felt this was the only appropriate course of action. Sadly, it comes down to the simple fact that many seminarians do not trust the formation staff in the seminary - we have heard time and time again that seminarians have been shown the door if they “rock the boat” and we have heard of seminarians being disciplined for trying to uphold the teaching of the Church, so it is little wonder that many do not trust the seminary staff and so resort to anonymous letters. Therefore, must we conclude the Trustees are still not willing - judging by their press release - to face the underlying issues.
On the measures to be implemented
The press release then goes on to outline some measures which will be implemented to deal with their concerns. This will include a review of “current policies and procedures for reporting complaints with a view to adopting best practice procedure for “protected disclosures”. We all want “best practice” of course; however, I thought that Monsignor Connolly insisted that there was already a “robust” procedure in place to deal with complaints. The Trustees appear to be contradicting the President of the College. In addition to this, a number of weeks ago when Monsignor Connolly defended the seminary on RTE Radio One, he commented on the case of a seminarian who had been dismissed for uncovering the existence of a homosexual sub-culture at the seminary. He claimed there was an “immaturity” on the part of this seminarian and how he went about making the complaint. Well, in light of the Trustees’ admission that the seminary’s policies need to be reviewed in order to adopt best practice, it is surely unfair to suspend a seminarian for not adhering to best practice when the college itself has not yet adopted best practice.
Furthermore, the Trustees request the “seminary authorities to evaluate and review the policy regarding the appropriate use of the internet and social media”. Surely there is not much which needs to be said on this point, except to note that if a seminarian is not capable of using the internet and social media responsibly, he probably should not be in the seminary in the first place. This, it seems, is as much - if not more - of an issue for those responsible for admitting candidates to seminary in the first place.
Why only talk about the future?
What about the present?
The Trustees' press release also states that they will assess future personnel and resource needs for the seminary. This, of course, is good and it is an ongoing necessity. However, the faithful and the seminarians — about whom the Trustees are so concerned — are surely asking: “Why only talk about the future? What about the present?” It must be asked, are the Trustees not willing to assess the current staff in Maynooth right now as we begin a new academic year? And, if not, why not? It appears that the focus in all of this controversy is the seminarians rather than those at the top who could immediately effect change for the better in the seminary, but are neglecting to do so. Recent reports, for example, are saying that the seminary staff will now take supper with the seminarians and that the seminarians will be required to pray the Rosary as a community. Now, there is nothing wrong with these two measures in themselves. However, seminarians are now required to eat at table with a formation team that many of them simply do not trust. Will this help solve the poisonous atmosphere or will it fuel it? These changes affect the seminarians specifically and their freedom is what is affected by the two examples mentioned - now, again, the measures themselves may not be wrong, but it is a pity that the first two “tangible” changes that are made do not include any change of current personnel who have presided over the continuing disintegration of the seminary. Is the most pressing and most effective solution going to be the restriction of seminarians or an immediate change of personnel in order to restore seminarians’ confidence in the formation system?
In addition to these two changes which appear to have been introduced, the Trustees have said that the Bishops’ Conference will be requested to begin planning “for the introduction of a propaedeutic year (pre-seminary) for all applicants for priestly training'’. Again, it is a pity that the Trustees seem to believe that it is the formation of candidates for the priesthood which should be prolonged, and they are clear that this is for all applicants. Once again, however, we must ask why we have another suggestion which certainly affects the seminarians but which will not solve the underlying problems. After all, what good will a propaedeutic year be if the formation is not solidly Catholic and clearly in line with the norms of the Roman Catholic Church? The more immediate solution which ought to be called for, surely, is a reform from the top down - and then, perhaps, consider the introduction of the propaedeutic year when confidence has been restored in the seminary authorities.
Not another subcommittee!!
Finally, the Trustees are going to request that the Bishops’ Conference establish “a sub committee to examine, with relevant consultors and advisors the pastoral needs of priestly training in contemporary Ireland”. Yes, another subcommittee! So, “relevant” people will decide what kind of priest they want, and the pastoral formation will be moulded to suit their wants. Who will these relevant people be, and who will decide that they are relevant? What if I, as a member of the faithful, do not believe that they are relevant or that they are correctly putting forward “the pastoral needs of priestly training”? The Trustees noted that the Church already has documents and clear guidelines on priestly formation which apply to the Universal Church - why not implement these first before setting up a sub-committee to re-invent the wheel? The Trustees indicate that they will follow the “recommendation” of Pope Francis, quoting Amoris Laetitia, that the “presence of lay people, families and especially the presence of women” is important in priestly formation.
Firstly, we must remember that this is not a document on priestly formation but a document on love in the family, and that is the context in which the Pope makes the comment the Trustees quote. In any case, when it comes to the pressing issues of the badly-needed reform of our National Seminary, the concern should not be whether or not we have priests, laypersons, or “especially women”. The solution to this problem must transcend political correctness and gender agendas - the best people to reform Maynooth seminary are the best people to reform Maynooth seminary. If we end up with a group of “relevant” people who are all men, then so be it Likewise, if we end up with a group of “relevant” people who are all women, then let it be if this is in the best interests of proper Catholic seminary formation. Only when this alone becomes our focus - a thorough Catholic formation that we may have faithful Catholic priests - will the true reform for which we long be able to come about.
THE WORRIED COW
M J Byrne most definitely in Rome... wonder did his Daddy get him a nice trousseau...? the Canon is known as his Daddy to those who know about their involvement. The Deacon has a penchant for older men. Bet there will be many visitations as referred to on your blog ... the pro-cathedral will be hopping with frustration and seeking release. Aer Lingus shares set to rise on the strength of the extra business.
No downside it would appear for the Deacon or the canon.
Your special, inside the cassocks, correspondent.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
THE WORRIED COW
The worried cow would have lived till now,
If she'd only saved her breath;
But she feared her hay wouldn't last all day,
And she mooed herself to death.
If she'd only saved her breath;
But she feared her hay wouldn't last all day,
And she mooed herself to death.