Rhona Tarrant | Aug 2 2016
The news this week that the Archbishop of Dublin is withdrawing his student priests from St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and sending them instead to the Irish College in Rome has cast a further shadow over Ireland’s national seminary.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told The Irish Times that his decision was based on the fact that he “wasn’t happy with Maynooth.” He cited “an atmosphere of strange goings-on there, it seems like a quarrelsome place with anonymous letters being sent around.” He added, “I don’t think this is a good place for students. However, when I informed the president of Maynooth of my decision, I did add ‘at least for the moment.’”
The decision from Archbishop Martin, one of Ireland’s most respected religious leaders, comes after anonymous letters were circulated in clerical circles alleging a culture of gay activity at the college, including the use of the gay dating app, Grindr. Other claims of sexual harassment of seminarians by staff members in the college have been reported, with allegations that the confidentiality clause for seminarians has prevented more from coming forward.
Archbishop Martin, a trustee of St. Patrick’s, made no comment on the reports, but said he had a “certain bonding” with Rome and the Irish College in Rome. The archbishop, who was recently appointed to the newly established Vatican Secretariat for Communications, worked in Rome for more than 25 years, mainly with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and as the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations.
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