There will be just six first year seminarians at the national seminary when classes resume later this month, according to figures obtained by The Irish Catholic. It is thought to be the lowest number on record in Maynooth’s 222 year history.
While returns from 25 of the country’s 26 dioceses show that 15 men have begun studying for Irish dioceses this year, many of them will participate in a so-called propaedeutic or preparatory year in anticipation of starting in the seminary in 2018.
The fall-off in Maynooth numbers is also due – in part – to the presence of a number of mature students this year who will be formed at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome which specialises in priestly training for older candidates.
In all, 15 of Ireland’s 26 dioceses have no new students either entering seminary or participating in the preparatory year. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Dublin told The Irish Catholic that it expected to have new seminarians but was unable to confirm how many until next week.
Killaloe diocese will send two new seminarians to Maynooth, while Tuam, Elphin, Kilmore and Cork & Ross diocese will send one student each.
A survey carried out by The Irish Catholic this week reveals an increasing trend to ask candidates for formation to undertake the propaedeutic year first. The year is usually completed in Spain, however, two students of the Derry diocese will complete their preparatory year in the diocese.
In all, five students will participate in the propaedeutic year, one will attend the Pontifical Irish College in Rome, two will attend the Beda and one Down & Connor student will begin his formation at St Malachy’s College in Belfast.
New seminarians in 2017
Ardagh & Clonmacnoise 0
Cashel and Emly 0
Cork & Ross 1 (Maynooth)
Down & Connor 2 (1* and 1 to St Malachy’s)
Dublin Number unavailable
Elphin 1 (Maynooth)
Kildare & Leighlin 1*
Killaloe 2 (Maynooth)
Kilmore 1 (Maynooth)
Meath 1 (Pontifical Beda College, Rome)
Tuam 3 (Maynooth, Pontifical Irish College, and Pontifical Beda College, Rome)
Waterford & Lismore 0
Maynooth has received the lowest ever number of entrants in its 222-year history!
Only 6 new seminarians entered Maynooth last Sunday to begin their first year's training.
15 of 26 Irish Catholic dioceses had no one at all to send this year to Maynooth.
Obviously, there are many reasons for this fall away - but one has to say that it is directly related to the MAYNOOTH GAY SCANDAL that has been world news now for quite a while.
Why would any young man want to enter a place where he could so easily be targetted by others for gay sex?
Why would Catholic parents, grandparents, and families want something like that for their beloved family member?
These young men and their families have witnessed these happenings and have witnessed the Irish Catholic Bishops doing NOTHING to really address the situation.
Furthermore, they have been exposed to the Gorgeous, King Puck, Chris Derwin, Eamon McCamley and Rory Coyle cases.
And like the rest of us, they are waiting to see Diarmuid Martin (Dublin) and Ray Browne (Kerry) ordain Gorgeous and King Puck in November.
The inaction of the Irish Bishops has made Maynooth - and indeed the priesthood - a laughing stock and a scandal.
Any young man entering the Catholic priesthood is swimming against the prevailing cultural and social tides.
Such a young man would have to have a strong faith and a lot of integrity in any event.
But then his bishop asks him to enter a seminary with a reputation for promiscuous sex and an institution where those who want to be celibate - and those who might be heterosexual - are sexually bullied and harassed and eventually given the heave ho by people with dangerous agendas.
Sending aspiring priests to a place like Maynooth is akin to sending aspiring police officers to an institution run by the Mafia.
SIX went in last Sunday. How many of those SIX will be there by June? How many of the SIX will be ordained in 6/7 years time?
And what indignities and ordeals will those SIX have to endure in FANNY MULLANEY LAND?