Former seminary president dismissed from priesthood

RTÉ - Raidió Teilifís Éireann [Dublin, Ireland]

January 27, 2024

By By Conor Kane

A former president of a seminary in the diocese of Waterford and Lismore has been dismissed from the priesthood following an internal inquiry, the bishop of the diocese has confirmed.

The inquiry into Fr Michael O’Connor, who was president of St John’s College in Waterford city for nine years, was initiated “in accordance with church procedures,” Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan said in a statement.

Commissioning the inquiry involved referring the case of Fr O’Connor to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, which is responsible for defending Catholic doctrine and was formerly known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“The result of this inquiry is that Michael O’Connor has been dismissed from the clerical state, and therefore is no longer a priest,” Bishop Cullinan said.

“This decision is solely based on the outcome of this church inquiry,” he said, before adding that he would not be making any further comment.

St John’s College closed as a seminary in 1999, at a time when it had just 13 students, and has since been re-developed along with some of its associated land as housing by the Respond voluntary housing association.

It is understood that the matter is solely an internal church inquiry.