Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has had enough of all these sexual shenanigans in the National Seminary at Maynooth.
He’s pulling his students out and sending them to the Irish College in Rome where he hopes they’ll get greater exposure to cosmopolitan European culture and they won’t be shagging each other.
Who could blame him? If Maynooth wasn’t good enough for Ireland’s first Cardinal, Paul Cullen, nearly 200 years ago, why should it be good enough for Diarmuid Martin’s vulnerable young protegés? Admittedly, of course, Cullen’s father had a different reason for sending his lad to Rome. Hugh Cullen wasn’t letting any son of his attend a Catholic seminary provided by the perfidious English oppressors whereas Diarmuid Martin is more concerned about The Gay.
That’s right. I said Gay.
There’s a seminary full of men, sequestered away in a monastic environment and some of them turn out to be gay.
Not only that, but some of them turn out to be sexually active.
One way or the other, Archbishop Martin is worried and to be fair to him, his concerns are probably not based on the fact that the activity is homosexual. That’s more or less a given, since it would be hard to see how anyone would engage in heterosexual activity in a place where there are no women.
I know. It doesn’t have to be heterosexual. You could point out that there are sheep in Kildare and no doubt the occasional frog but from what he said, Martin seems to be more troubled by what he perceives as an atmosphere of coercion. Martin thinks Maynooth is a place full of abusers preying on emotionally-vulnerable young men.
Who could have imagined that the seminary churning out Ireland’s priests would be sexually abusive, especially when you consider how balanced and emotionally complete Ireland’s priests have proven themselves over the centuries? It’s astonishing.
But apart from the sexual aggression, Martin also seems to be worried about the shagging. By the sound of things, the lads in Maynooth are getting laid like jack-rabbits using social media, and who could blame them? Their final vows will include not only celibacy but also chastity, so why not make hay while they can?
Te morituri salutant.
Martin doesn’t think his priestlings should be getting laid and of course, he’s the boss. But given the consequences of that policy over the centuries, perhaps he’d be better off just saying nothing. Let them get on with it. Let them use dating websites, gay or straight and who knows? He might even end up with emotionally well-adjusted priests and what a difference that would be, although of course it’s too late to change anything. The damage was done a long time ago and the Catholic church has already lost the hearts and minds it needed to survive.
Now, it’s true that Diarmuid only has three seminarians to educate this year when in times past his predecessors might have had dozens. That’s why he was sending them to Maynooth: Clonliffe College closed years ago due to lack of interest but let’s not focus on numbers.
Diarmuid Martin must be feeling pretty despondent. The institution he devoted his life to no longer enjoys the confidence of the general public and here he is, the Archbishop of Dublin, saying that he has no confidence in the national seminary.
Nobody trusts the clergy, and the top cleric doesn’t trust the place that makes the priests.
Artificial seminarians, so to speak.
That leaves him in a difficult position, wouldn’t you say?