Maynooth’s opaque culture major part of problem

Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

The closed strange world of seminaries,’ was how Archbishop Diarmuid Martin put it yesterday, when speaking of the latest Maynooth 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.

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