Archbishops differ over Maynooth after ‘gay subculture’ claims

Clerics disagree over sending trainees to St Patrick’s College

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. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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. File photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

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, Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Cloyne, Kildare and Leighlin, Clonfert, Clogher, and Killala.

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.

Misbehaviour

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”.