St Patrick’s seminary and ‘gay culture’


Sir, – As usual, The Irish Times paints Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin as the hero of the hour in the controversy surrounding St Patrick’s seminary in Maynooth.

Your paper fails to raise the question as to what is the precise difference between the Irish College in Rome and Maynooth.

Dr Diarmuid might be better occupied if he were to question the Catholic Church’s insistence of confining the priesthood to male celibates.

– Yours, etc,



Co Tipperary.

Sir, – Measuring some of the reactions concerning Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin’s decision to send his tiny number of seminarians to Rome, one could be forgiven for thinking he had despatched them to a walled mediaeval city.

For a start, in case anyone has forgotten, these priests are training for service in the Roman Catholic Church.

While admittedly many sections of the Irish church have lately become rather Anglican in their attitudes, Rome is hardly the strangest place to send Catholic seminarians. Indeed, the US dioceses have recently spent $8 million on a new 10-storey building for its Roman seminary on the Janiculum Hill, where enrolment is currently around 250.

Tony Corcoran (Letters, July August 5th) suggests that Irish clergy should be trained in a “multicultural third-level institution”. I lived in Rome for six months and no resident could accuse it of being provincial. Walk the streets and one will see seminarians from Benin and Buenos Aires mixing with those from Dublin and Dubuque.

Finally, although some spy clericalism in this decision, I find such claims sensational. There’s a difference between fostering clericalism and embracing an encouraging ecclesiastical environment for men who want to do something different with their lives.

If I were a trainee priest, the last place I’d choose to study would be Ireland – where bishops seem constantly divided, and the Association of Catholic Priests, which started off as something virtuous, has become a reliable source of negative dissent. I, too, would turn to Grindr.

– Yours, etc,