Isn’t that terrible news? All Hallows College is closing due to lack of funds, despite its tawdry attempt to raise money by selling Jackie Kennedy’s private letters.
Well, actually, no. It’s great.
The very existence of All Hallows was an obscenity and an insult to the memory of the countless Irish people who starved during the Great Famine.
Imagine, in 1842, setting up a seminary to train priests for foreign missions, while the majority of the Irish peasantry lived in a state of misery, with the Famine looming. In the very same way that Cardinal Paul Cullen arrived in great pomp and circumstance ten years later, while people starved at the side of the road, All Hallows represents the physical manifestation of a church that cared nothing for compassion and everything for power.
Imagine the enormous hubris behind the decision to set up a seminary for priests who would traverse the world, proselytising to people who already had perfectly viable cultures of their own. Imagine the subsequent horrible irony that this priest-virus spread across the globe following precisely the routes of the sick, the starving, the destitute peasant Irish, expelled from the old country by the landlords’ friends, Famine and Disease.
Look at this carefully. As always, the Catholic church in Ireland aligned itself with power, not people. It found an ally in the Famine, pursuing the Irish diaspora wherever it went. At a time when its own people perished from hunger and disease, the Irish church plunged its wealth into creating a seminary, of all things.
Why would we regret the passing of an institution like that? Let’s not mourn the passing of All Hallows, which has finally collapsed under its own irrelevance. Instead let’s celebrate the fact that we’re no longer training ignorant lads to travel the world patronising foreign cultures while our own people starve.
All Hallows, and the mindset that created it, are no loss.
They are the problem.